Joplin seventh-grader bound over for trial in school shooting:
Let’s take a look at some of the testimony in yesterday’s preliminary hearing about Thomas White, the 14-year-old Memorial Middle School gunman.
During the preliminary hearing, two administrators testified that White pointed the assault rifle directly at them.
Steven Doerr, assistant superintendent of Joplin’s public schools, said White was pointing the rifle at another student in the school’s main hallway when Doerr saw him, ran up and told him to put the weapon down.
“He pulled the rifle down from his shoulder, pointed it up (toward the ceiling) and fired it,” Doerr testified. “The purpose of that, I think, was to demonstrate to me it was a real rifle and loaded and he meant business.”
Doerr said White told him to go away, so Doerr stepped into a nearby classroom and called 911.
Stephen Gilbreth, Memorial Middle School’s principal, said that when he heard the gunshot he ran out of his office and into the hall where White was standing. Gilbreth said he approached the boy, who was wearing a mask and hood, and repeatedly told him to put the rifle down and leave the building.
Gilbreth said he thought White was trying to fire the gun when the boy repeatedly jabbed the weapon toward the principal. Police later said the rifle jammed because of improper seating of an ammunition clip in the gun.
“The only thing he (White) said the whole time was, ‘Don’t make me do it,’” Gilbreth testified. “He was making a motion with the gun toward me. I thought he was trying to discharge the weapon but I couldn’t be sure.”
Gilbreth said White then headed down some stairs and out of the building, with the principal behind him repeatedly encouraging him to keep walking and leave the school. White stopped once to look back and moved the gun toward Gilbreth, the principal testified.
“I put my hands in my pockets (and) said, ‘I’m not doing anything, bud. Let’s just keep going,’” Gilbreth said.
This is why he needs to be tried as an adult. Clearly there was an intent to do harm. Only by the grace of God did the gun jam and no one was injured. It’s not like he brought a gun to school to show off to his friends and it accidentally discharged. If that happened I’d say yeah try him as a juvenile. But these actions show wanton malice on the part of White.
The max he’s looking at is 49 years. I doubt he’ll get anywhere near that much but I won’t lose any sleep if he does.