12-year-old boy charged in Michigan school shooting

CROWN POINT, Mich. — Authorities say a 12-year-old boy who fatally shot a classmate at a Michigan middle school was caught on camera as he prepared to fire an assault rifle, urging his mother, “don’t do it.”

Live coverage of Friday’s Michigan school shooting.

The surveillance camera showed the boy standing by his locker at Armada Middle School in nearby Clayton, 30 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, when he pulls out a rifle and aims at 13-year-old Wyatt Hart, prosecutor David Leyton said at a press conference Sunday.

Police Chief Michael Zalar said other students were there when Hart was shot Friday. The bullet entered Hart’s neck as he stood next to his locker and punctured a lung, Leyton said. Police say Hart had his nose broken and suffered other injuries as he was being restrained by other students.

Leyton said police have other people in their custody. The boy admitted in interviews with investigators that he had bought the gun and pointed it at Hart.

“He admitted to shooting Wyatt Hart and said that he did not want to do it,” Leyton said.

The 12-year-old faces murder and felony firearm charges and was in Juvenile Court on Sunday afternoon, according to Lake County, Michigan, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Eric Cooke. Child Protective Services was investigating to determine if the boy’s mother had legal custody of him, Cooke said.

The boy’s 14-year-old brother told the Detroit Free Press that he had reached out to his 12-year-old brother.

“We spoke just a couple minutes ago and he said he loved me and my sister,” the brother said. “We didn’t talk about anything. He’s sad and scared.”

The brother told the newspaper that the boy had had “trouble in his life” and had been suspended from school in the past.

“He was trying to correct things,” the brother said. “He’s worked very hard.”

Zalar said the boy had not had disciplinary problems at the school.

School was canceled Friday as emergency responders, including Grand Rapids SWAT teams, searched the school. Students were brought to Grand Rapids Community High School, a few miles away, to be reunited with their parents.

Leyton said no one found guilty of homicide faces the death penalty.

“All I can tell you is that we will seek the maximum amount of time possible in juvenile court,” he said.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said last week that any charges against the boy would depend on what police had determined about the shooting and whether he could be charged as an adult.

Hart, who had been home-schooled but had begun attending an alternative school in the last month, was set to attend the Grand Rapids Christian School next month. The school’s principal said he was considered a “bright kid” with a “beautiful heart.”

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