Teen in custody until age 21 for school cafeteria shooting

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A 15-year-old boy who opened fire on fellow students in a school cafeteria will be kept in juvenile detention until he is 21.

James Austin Hancock will be free at 21 unless he causes problems in juvenile custody, which could lead to possible time in the adult prison system, Butler County Juvenile Court Judge Ronald Craft said Monday.

The judge said that he didn’t know why Hancock shot other students but that he had to be punished.

Hancock said in court that he wanted the victims to know they weren’t targeted, WKRC-TV reported.

His attorney, Charles H. Rittgers, said he apologized in court but didn’t elaborate on a motive. Rittgers said the boy’s family is happy the case was handled in the juvenile system and hopeful he can get any help he needs while in custody.

The teenager pleaded guilty to four counts of attempted murder and one count of inducing panic for the February shooting at Madison Local Schools, near Middletown. Two students were wounded by gunfire, and two others were hurt by shrapnel or while running away.

Some of the students read statements in court Monday, with one offering forgiveness to Hancock, WKRC reported.

Hancock was ordered to have no contact with the victims and to pay restitution for some medical expenses for one of them, said Rob Clevenger, the county’s juvenile court director.

Hancock has been in custody in the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center since the shooting and will remain in detention under the Ohio Department of Youth Services, the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-news reported.

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