Noblesville West Middle School shooting suspect appears in first public hearing

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The 13-year-old suspect charged with shooting a student and teacher at Noblesville West Middle School May 25 made his first public appearance in Hamilton County Circuit Court this morning.

Although the hearing was open to the public, no recording devices or cameras were allowed in the courtroom.

At the 8:30 a.m. hearing, Judge Todd Ruetz accepted the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office’s juvenile delinquency petition filed June 5. A fact-finding hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m. June 25 and 26, and a trial date was set for July 3.

The suspect faces 11 charges, which include:

  • Attempted Murder, a Level 1 felony
  • Attempted Murder, a Level 1 felony
  • Aggravated Battery, a Level 3 felony
  • Aggravated Battery, a Level 3 felony
  • Battery by Means of a Deadly Weapon, a Level 5 felony
  • Battery by Means of a Deadly Weapon, a Level 5 felony
  • Possession of a Firearm on School Property, a Level 6 felony
  • Possession of a Firearm on School Property, a Level 6 felony
  • Dangerous Possession of a Firearm, a Class A misdemeanor
  • Dangerous Possession of a Firearm, a Class A misdemeanor
  • Possession of a Knife on School Property, a Class B misdemeanor

The suspect, appearing with his parents, will remain at the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center, where he has been since his May 25 arrest.

Although juvenile court is aimed at rehabilitation, Ruetz said the suspect could be sentenced to a detention center for up to 90 days.

The suspect allegedly opened fire in the seventh-grade science classroom of Jason Seaman May 25 at Noblesville West Middle School, shooting fellow student Ella Whistler first before Seaman disarmed him. Seaman also was shot three times, once in the forearm, once in the hip and once in the abdomen. He was released from the hospital the following day. Whistler was reportedly shot seven times. Her family said she is still recovering in the hospital and is in stable condition.

Seaman attended the hearing.

In a statement released June 5, Hamilton County Prosecutor D. Lee Buckingham said the suspect and this case is not eligible to be tried in adult court because of his age. Because he is 13 years old, he cannot be waived to adult court because the victims of the shooting survived their injuries.

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