By LINDSAY WHITEHURST
SALT LAKE CITY — A 14-year-old in Utah grabbed his mother’s gun to scare an older boy in a planned afterschool fight and ended up firing two rounds into his adversary’s head, critically wounding him, prosecutors said in charging documents filed Monday.
After firing the shots, he fell to his knees outside the middle school and a teacher grabbed the gun out of his hand, prosecutors said. At one point he told the victim he would reunite him with his deceased mother, prosecutors said.
The charges don’t detail how the longstanding conflict started, but they offer the most detailed official account yet of a shooting that happened as students were leaving the suburban Salt Lake City school on Oct. 25.
The Associated Press is not naming the boy because of his age. The 16-year-old victim’s name has not been released, but police say he’s recovering and his condition has been upgraded to stable.
The shooting happened along a main pathway out of Union Middle School as students were leaving for the day and was witnessed by dozens of people, police said.
The younger teen had grabbed the gun because he was afraid the older boy would do something, prosecutors said. He showed two other juveniles the weapon in his backpack.
“He was just going to point the gun, and hopefully, he’d get scared,” prosecutors wrote, quoting from a police interview with the teenager after the shooting. But when the older boy walked toward him, saying “Let’s just do this right now,” the 14-year-old pulled the trigger, the charges state.
He teen was charged in juvenile court on Monday with attempted murder, two counts of felony discharge of a firearm and one count of possessing a firearm on school premises. He’s due to appear before a judge on Tuesday.
A teacher on duty in the playground behind the school saw the confrontation, but she was too far away to stop the shooting. She told police she heard several shots, but the gun jammed at least twice.
The charges state the teen was on the ground when police arrived, and when officers asked who the shooter was he said, “I am.”
The school was briefly locked down after the shooting, and crisis counselors were available to talk with teachers and students. Investigators have said they don’t think gang involvement was a factor in the dispute.
The defendant is a student at Union Middle, and the 16-year-old victim attends nearby Hillcrest High School, police have said.