After a detention hearing for the 16-year-old Italy High School shooter, Judge Cindy Ermatinger of the 443rd District Court found the juvenile lacked adequate supervision and is a potential danger to himself or may threaten public safety.
The ruling results in the juvenile remaining detained for 10 business days while a psychological evaluation is completed. The next detention hearing will be on Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. at the Ellis County Courts Building.
On Monday, Jan., 22 the juvenile shot a 15-year-old female student several times in the neck and abdomen. He then proceeded to fire at a 15-year-old male student, grazing his right ear, stated state attorney Samantha Vickery.
Vickey added the only reason the juvenile stopped firing the .380 caliber handgun was that the ammunition ran out.
“At that point, video shows that this juvenile was still stomping around the fallen girl, yelling, waving his arms in anger. This student terrorized his classmates, school and the entire community of Italy, Texas,” Vickery argued.
The suspect is currently held on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Ellis County and District Attorney's Office.
Ellis County District Attorney Patrick Wilson said since the court is dealing with a minor, “we have an opportunity to gather more information about him than we otherwise would had he been an adult.”
Wilson's office requested the juvenile have a psychological evaluation, which was granted. The assessment will be conducted before the next hearing.
“Once all of that information is gathered it will help us evaluate what decisions we will make going forward in this case,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he felt like there was no other option than the juvenile be detained due to the lack of information they have on the boy. Wilson said this was for the best interest and safety of the community.
The state argued that the juvenile is lacking adult supervision and is a danger to himself and others. The defense did not contest.
According to a document provided by the court, a minor can be held in custody if he or she is likely to abscond, lacks adequate supervision, lacks a parent or other person to return him or her to court when required, is a danger to themselves or public safety, or was previously adjudicated for delinquent conduct and is likely to commit another offense if released.
“It’s our position, certainly by default, when a 16-year-old gets ahold of a handgun and makes his way to school with it and shoots up his cafeteria. Then clearly, in my mind, he’s lacking significant adult supervision,” Wilson said.
Wilson said his office cannot determine when they will make the decision to try the juvenile as an adult. He noted his team is still waiting for requested information.
Going into the hearing, Wilson emotionally said, “I have children in school as well, and I’m not un-impacted by the events that took place in our world today. I worry for them and I worry for the family, the kids that did this. There are no winners in this no matter how shakes up. It’s a tragedy for everybody involved.”
Wilson explained a juvenile court detention hearing is an informal meeting that should take place no later than the second working day after the juvenile is taken into custody.
Related article: Italy High School gunman, 16, charged; girl, 15, recovering from multiple wounds