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Noblesville Shooting Suspect Will Not Be Tried As An Adult

The 13-year-old boy charged in the shooting is a student at Noblesville West Middle School (Tyler Lake, WFIU/WTIU News)

The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office says the 13-year-old suspect in the Noblesville West Middle School shooting will not be tried as an adult.

Hamilton County Prosecutor D. Lee Buckingham said the boy would have faced 11 counts in adult court, including attempted murder and aggravated battery. He said the teen’s case cannot be heard in adult court under current Indiana law because his alleged attempt to commit murder wasn’t successful.

He’s accused of shooting science teacher Jason Seaman and 13-year-old Ella Whistler on May 25. Seaman has been credited with helping to stop the attack.

The prosecutor’s office filed a petition to charge the student with a delinquent offense, citing “acts that would be felony or misdemeanor crimes if committed by an adult.”

Those charges would be two felony counts of attempted murder, aggravated battery, battery by means of a deadly weapon, and possession of a firearm on school property.

But, according to Indiana law, since the student is younger than 14 and not charged with murder, he cannot be tried as an adult.

“In this case, due to the heroic and extraordinary efforts of many people, including teachers, a school nurse, the Noblesville Police Department School Resource Officer, and many other first responders and medical providers, thankfully, Jason Seaman and Ella Whistler survived,” Buckingham said in a statement. “This blessing results in this matter remaining in the juvenile justice system under our current laws, a result which will, I am sure, be very troubling and unsatisfying for many people.”

Police had previously said the suspect had two handguns when he allegedly opened fire. The delinquency petition shows he allegedly used a .22-caliber handgun in the shooting and also had a .45-caliber handgun and a knife in his possession.

Christopher Eskew, the attorney for the student, released a statement asking for patience and privacy during the investigation and judicial process.

“We understand that the public has unanswered questions at this time,” Eskew said. “In the meantime, we ask the public and the media to focus their well wishes and attention on Ella, Mr. Seaman and all those adversely affected by the tragedy.”

The student’s initial hearing is set for Monday June 11, with a trial date to be set after that.

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