The mother of a 16-year-old boy who was shot and seriously injured in January at Col. Zadok Magruder says he was on life support for three weeks after the incident and will soon have his 10th operation.
Authorities allege a 17-year-old boy shot the victim, who was then 15, just before 1 p.m. on January 21 in the Derwood school toilet. Prosecutors said the suspect purchased and assembled a privately made firearm, or ghost gun, online, then brought the loaded gun to school knowing there would be a confrontation.
The school was closed while police searched for the shooter. Police said the suspect was found in another classroom and arrested around 3 p.m. that day.
The 17-year-old has been charged as an adult with attempted murder, assault and multiple weapon offences. The police identified the accused; Bethesda Beat does not generally name minors who have been charged with crimes.
On Monday, a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge heard arguments about whether to move the case from adult court to juvenile court. Under state law, minors charged with crimes such as murder, rape, carjacking and weapons violations are automatically charged as adults. However, the courts have the discretion to transfer these cases to juvenile court.
About 80% of the time, minors are charged as adults in Maryland, their cases are transferred to juvenile court or dismissedaccording to data from the state’s Juvenile Justice Reform Council. A January report from the council found that a juvenile charged in adult court spends an average of 155 days waiting in adult prison before a transfer is granted.
At Monday’s hearing, Karen Thomas, the victim’s mother, said the January attack had “changed our whole life and the way our daily life works”.
Thomas described his son as a “happy, upbeat, social and caring” young man before he was shot in the abdomen. The shooting caused numerous injuries, including kidney and liver failure, she said. He was put on life support for three weeks after the shooting, had multiple blood transfusions and had nine surgeries.
Thomas also said his son developed sepsis, blood clots and edema, extreme swelling caused by excess body fluid in the tissues.
“I saw his body swell to almost unrecognizable,” Thomas told the court.
Thomas’ son spent 52 days in hospital and required the care of a home nurse when he was discharged, she said. Today he is able to walk with a limp but cannot stand for long periods, she said.
“Physically, he will never be the same again,” she said, noting that a bullet is still lodged in his body, behind his left hip.
Thomas said his son is still waiting for a stoma or bowel-related surgery.
“I had to see my son in excruciating pain,” she said.
Thomas said the past four months have been extremely difficult for her family and have taken her away from her two daughters, aged 10 and 14. She said she wasn’t sure what the future held for her son.
“What he went through is very traumatic, and it will definitely leave a lasting impact on our family,” she said.
“He needs to heal and get back to normal instead of having a normal teenage experience.”
Lawyers argue over placement of case
Prosecutors argued on Monday that the 17-year-old’s case should remain in adult court. Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Fenton said it was clear the suspect’s actions were pre-planned, saying he purchased the ghost gun online and assembled it himself.
“He didn’t react. He acted. It was planned and deliberate,” she said.
Fenton said it was one of the most serious cases in recent times, as it comes at a time when violent youth crime is on the rise in the county, and ghost guns have been implicated. in multiple incidents.
Monday’s issue was a doctor’s assessment which, according to a defense attorney, indicates the 17-year-old had a problem with “coping strategies” in response to previous fights he was in. is engaged, and has also had a history of cannabis use.
Prosecutors say the assessment gave no specific recommendations. Circuit Court Judge David Boynton questioned defense attorney David Felsen about the report, asking what specific issues the 17-year-old had before the shooting and what services he needed.
“You must have an identifiable problem, and I haven’t seen it,” Boynton said.
“The case itself suggests adjustment issues,” Felsen said.
Boynton said he expects to make a decision at 9:30 a.m. Thursday on whether to grant the transfer.
Dan Schere can be contacted at [email protected]