Feb. 19, 2002 – Police arrested a 12-year-old elementary school student Monday evening and charged him with shooting a 14-year-old boy with a shotgun.
The boy who fired the gun, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was charged with first-degree assault with intent to kill in connection with the shooting Monday afternoon, according to police records. He was released to the custody of his parents, but Territorial Court Judge Audrey Thomas-Francis, who presides over the Family Division, could send him to the Youth Rehabilitation Center on St. Croix, Police Chief Novelle Francis said.
(However, Attorney General Iver Stridiron said on Wednesday morning that sending the boy to the YRC was not an option because he is too young. "Under our law, a 12-year-old cannot be sent pretrial to the Youth Rehabilitation Center," he said. The three choices, Stridiron added, were to remand the child to his parents, place him in foster care or seek a court order for placing him with a responsible third party.)
The victim was taken to Roy L. Schneider Hospital with shotgun pellet wounds about his body. The injuries did not appear to be life threatening, Francis said.
The victim told investigators he was at the basketball court on Garden Street about 4:30 p.m. Monday when the other boy approached him with a shotgun. Investigators have not determined a motive for the shooting, Francis said.
The basketball court area was the site of two homicides and numerous other shootings last year, and area residents report gunfire in the area several times a week, police records show. The slab of broken concrete is surrounded by abandoned vehicles, and chickens peck at the strewn garbage.
The site is a block from All Saints Cathedral School and less than 300 yards from the Main Street shopping district bustling with tourists.
"It doesn't surprise me," said Jose Acosta, owner of The Chicken Fry restaurant about 150 yards from the basketball court, when told the age of the boy charged in the shooting. "It happens all the time, and it's teen-agers making all the trouble," he said. "It's killing business because people don't want to come down here anymore."
According to police records, the defendant is a student at J. Antonio Jarvis Elementary School. Francis said it is not the first time in the territory that a boy as young as 12 has been charged in connection with a shooting.
"We've seen a decrease in the age of people involved in violent crime," he said. "It says a lot to me. The moral values are decreasing."


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