HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A 14-year-old boy accused of shooting students in a school cafeteria entered the juvenile court equivalent of a not-guilty plea at a Tuesday hearing that offered no clues about the motive that investigators say they know.
The boy is charged in Butler County with attempted murder, felonious assault, inducing panic and making terroristic threats. With his ankles shackled, he sat silently during the brief hearing and kept his head down, reading the complaint.
Defense attorney Ed Perry entered a denial of the charges, and a magistrate ordered that the suspect remain in juvenile detention pending a hearing April 5. Perry and the boy’s supporters declined to comment afterward.
There was no indication whether prosecutors might seek to move the case to adult court.
The Associated Press doesn’t generally name juveniles charged with crimes.
Authorities allege the boy fired at students Monday in a cafeteria used by high schoolers in Madison Township, near Middletown. Two students were shot and two others were hurt, possibly by shrapnel or while running away, authorities said. The injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.
In a recorded call, a 911 caller reporting the shooting immediately identified the suspect by name. Breathing heavily, the unidentified caller told a dispatcher: “He just pulled out his gun and started shooting.”
Sheriff Richard Jones said he’s aware of a motive but wasn’t ready to release it.
Students were eating in the cafeteria when the shooting happened around 11:30 a.m., Jones said. Afterward, classmates described a chaotic scene where they weren’t sure what was happening at first.
A sheriff’s deputy stationed in the school had just been in the cafeteria, Jones said.
The students who were shot were 14 and 15 years old and were taken to a hospital where they were in stable condition, investigators said.
The school, which had practiced for such an event, immediately went into lockdown, said Madison Local Schools spokeswoman A.J. Huff.
The district canceled classes and extracurricular activities Tuesday. Classes were to resume Wednesday.
Associated Press writer Kantele Franko in Columbus contributed to this report. Follow the reporter at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell. To see some of his other recent stories: http://bigstory.ap.org/content/dan-sewell