Police: Teen had gun weeks before school shooting

Shooting victim, Chance Jackson
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Martinsville - A police detective says a 15-year-old boy accused of shooting a student at an Indiana middle school showed a gun to a girl both teens had dated two weeks before the shooting and sent her text messages in which he said he wanted to shoot the other youth.

Martinsville Detective Brian Chambers testified Monday during a hearing on whether to waive the teen to adult court in Morgan County Superior Court.

The lead investigator on the case said in the days leading up to the shooting, the suspect told at least three other teens that he had a gun and intended to use it to shoot Chance Jackson.

Police say the teen had been expelled from Martinsville West Middle School days before 15-year-old Chance Jackson was shot twice in the stomach inside a school entrance on March 25.

According to testimony by the Martinsville West Middle School principal, the suspect had 50 disciplinary referrals during his time as a student at the school. Just a few days before the shooting, he was in trouble again for making a remark during English class about wanting to blow up the school, and it was recommended that he be expelled.

The teen faces charges of felony for attempted murder, aggravated battery, trespassing and two school-related firearms charges. Attorney Steven Litz says the case should stay in juvenile court because the teen would emerge worse than when he went in if convicted and sent to prison. He also says the court should consider the 15-year-old's difficult upbringing.

"No one is suggesting an excuse for this, no one is saying, 'well, he was brought up in a terrible environment there, it is ok that he shoot someone," Litz said. "No one is suggesting that. I'm suggesting is that the environment that he was brought up ought to be a factor in the consideration of whether we treat as an adult."

Alternatively, his probation officer testified that the suspect was already in the juvenile system and could no longer be helped there. He recommended trial as an adult.

In Monday's hearing, it was also learned that a friend of the shooting suspect may have helped him steal the gun that was used in the shooting. The detective testified that the gun found in a wooded area near the school had the teen suspect's fingerprint on it. The weapon matched the description of a gun reported missing by a man who said he raised the shooting suspect since he was a child.

Chance Jackson was in fair condition at last check a few weeks ago. He is listed as a no-information patient at Methodist Hospital, meaning that a more recent update on his condition is not available.