Noblesville school shooting civil case moved to Marion County

Noblesville West Middle School on May 25, 2018 when a student opened fire in a classroom. (WTHR Staff)

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) — A Hamilton County judge approved moving a civil suit against the parents of the Noblesville West Middle School shooter out of Hamilton County, where the shooting happened. The parents of the shooter requested a transfer and reached an agreement with the victim and her parents who filed the lawsuit to move it to Marion County.

Ella Whistler was shot several times May 25 when a fellow seventh grade student started shooting during her science class.

Whistler and her parents, Cory and Julia, filed the civil suit against the shooter’s parents claiming they should have known their son had an obsession with violence and firearms. They also say the shooter’s parents should have prevented his access to weapons. Previous court proceedings revealed the gun he used came from a gun safe at his house.

The shooter’s parents had asked for a transfer of venue explaining that they believe it is unlikely they would receive a fair trial in Hamilton County because “the local community will all have knowledge, experience and preconceptions” of what happened. They also cited media coverage and noted that a large number of people have some ties to the school.

In their response to the civil lawsuit, the shooter’s parents deny they were negligent and that they should have foreseen the consequences. They also say they are not personally responsible for the Whistler’s damages and that their son and Noblesville Schools may both bear some responsibility.

The shooter was ordered to remain in a juvenile detention facility until his 18th birthday or until the Department of Correction considers him rehabilitated. When he is released, he will immediately be placed on probation and the judge did not put an end date on that probation.

WTHR is not naming the shooter or his family because he was not charged as an adult.