MIDDLETOWN, Ohio – A lawyer for the 14-year-old accused of a shooting inside an Ohio school cafeteria denied the charges against him during a juvenile court hearing Tuesday.
Monday’s shooting at Madison Junior-Senior High School in Middletown, Ohio, injured four students, all of whom are expected to survive. Two were hit by bullets, while the other two got hurt “either by shrapnel from the handgun or by injuries getting away from the active shooter,” Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones has said.
The alleged shooter — identified by Jones as James Austin Hancock — is charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of felonious assault, inducing panic and making terrorist threats.
His attorney, identified by the judge as Ed Perry, said Tuesday in court, “We have heard the charges and received the complaints.”
“At this time,” the lawyer added, those charges “will be denied.”
Hancock, who was accompanied by family members in addition to his lawyer, was returned to a juvenile detention center following Tuesday morning’s hearing. The presiding judge ordered him not to have any contact with his alleged victims.
‘What are they doing with a gun?’
The shooting occurred as students were eating lunch at the cafeteria in Middletown, a community of about 50,000 people between Dayton and Cincinnati.
“I was very scared,” student Zayd Ahmed told CNN affiliate WCPO. “Kind of like, you’re shaking, your legs won’t stop shaking. For another hour I was wondering what was going on and when are they going to tell us.”
The 11th-grader told WCPO he was surprised when he heard the suspect was 14.
“I’m just thinking, ‘Little eighth-graders? With a gun? What are they doing with a gun?'” the affiliate reported Ahmed said.
Authorities have not given a motive for Monday’s shooting, nor have they said if the victims were targeted or shot at random.
Schools in the Madison Local School District were closed Tuesday as staff made preparations “to support our student when we return.”
“To this day, it seems as though there’s more school shootings … there’s police officers being shot,” Jones, the Butler County sheriff, said after the shooting. “It’s the times we live.”