MILWAUKEE (AP) — The case of a 15-year-old Milwaukee boy charged with shooting and wounding eight people at a suburban mall last year will remain in juvenile court, a judge has ruled.
In a petition for juvenile delinquency, the teen faces eight felony counts of first-degree reckless injury and one misdemeanor count of possessing a firearm while under 18 in connection with the Nov. 20 shooting at Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa.
Before Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Brittany Grayson issued her ruling Thursday, prosecutors argued that because of the seriousness of the shooting, and the trauma it inflicted on the victims and the community, the teen should be locked up longer than the few months he would face if he is found delinquent in juvenile proceedings.
“It’s only by luck, and perhaps the grace of God, that no one was killed,” said Assistant District Attorney Sara Waldschmidt.
Assistant Public Defender Paul Rifelj argued that the boy’s personality was that of a child and that the treatment services available to him in the juvenile system would be best to help him.
Grayson agreed with Rifelj, who argued the state had not met its burden to support moving the case to adult court, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The Milwaukee County Division of Youth and Family Services had recommended that the teen remain in juvenile court.
According to the petition, the teen and a friend were in the mall when the friend confronted a group of people descending an escalator — yelling and then punching one person in the group. Witnesses told police the teen was farther back and “took a shooter’s stance.” He began firing with a handgun drawn from his waistband, the petition said.
The teen fled and was arrested two days later in a car with Illinois plates, with a packed bag and the handgun police said was used in the shooting, according to the petition. He has remained in detention since his arrest.
The Associated Press is not naming the teen because he is charged as a juvenile.