INDIANAPOLIS — House Speaker Brian Bosma told CBS4 Wednesday lawmakers will review state law after prosecutors were unable to charge the 13-year-old Noblesville school shooting suspect as an adult.
“In light of the Noblesville West Middle School incident and the recent charges brought against the shooter, we are reviewing current state law in regards to juveniles being charged as adults. Given the heinous acts that led to a teacher and student being seriously harmed, I think it’s important for us to take a thoughtful look at our criminal code and whether changes to the law are appropriate.”
The teen, who CBS4 is not identifying because he is a juvenile, is accused of opening fire in a classroom at Noblesville West Middle School on May 25, striking 13-year-old student Ella Whistler and teacher Jason Seaman. Both victims survived.
Prosecutors say the suspect was in possession of a .22 caliber gun, a .45 caliber gun, and a knife at the time of the attack.
“When you have something horrible like this happen, it gives you pause to go back and look at our statutes,” State Sen. Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said in an interview Wednesday. “The question we have to ask ourselves – is our juvenile system such that a child that’s particularly troubled – like a child that would do some crime like this must be – are we able to help that person and straighten their lives out and then be a benefit and not a burden to society? Or is it too late and we do just need to go into the system of punishment? And that’s a really, really complicated, difficult question to answer. But we’re going to spend a lot of time thinking about it because that’s a huge priority for us.”
Attorney General Curtis Hill said he supported a review of current law, as did Gov. Eric Holcomb.
“I think it is open for discussion,” Holcomb said. “Obviously in this case the law is the law so we will administer it appropriately. But, I do want to talk to some prosecutors and those on the front lines to take a look at it.”
Hamilton County Prosecutor D. Lee Buckingham said in a statement Tuesday night the 13-year-old would have faced 11 counts, including attempted murder, if he were an adult.
However, under current Indiana law, a child 13 years of age can only be waived to adult court if the attempt to murder an individual is successful.
“In this case, due to the heroic and extraordinary efforts of many people, including teachers, a school nurse, the Noblesville Police Department School Resource Officer, and many other first responders and medical providers, thankfully, Jason Seaman and Ella Whistler survived,” said prosecuting attorney D. Lee Buckingham, II in a press release. “This blessing results in this matter remaining in the juvenile justice system under our current laws, a result which will, I am sure, be very troubling and unsatisfying for many people.”