ANDERSON, S.C. — A 14-year-old South Carolina boy was charged as juvenile with murder and attempted murder Friday, two days after he was accused of opening fire on a kindergarten class heading outside for recess.
The hearing did not address whether the prosecution will move to try the teen, whose name has not been released, as an adult. The boy's father, Jeffrey Osborne, 47, was found dead at around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday at his home, shortly before news of the shooting at Townville Elementary School surfaced.
The suspect's mother, Tiffney Osborne, cried throughout the hearing and declined to speak to the Independent Mail afterward. Her son, who was brought into the courtroom in a yellow jumpsuit and was wearing no restraints, showed no emotion and is being returned to a juvenile facility in Greenville, S.C.
"We have never had something so serious involving school children," Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper, speaking through tears, said before the hearing.
One of the shooting victims, 6-year-old Jacob Hall, is on life support at Greenville Health System Children's Hospital, about 35 miles northeast. Two other victims, a 6-year-old student and teacher, were wounded and have been treated and released.
The boy's grandparents found Jeffrey Osborne's body after receiving a cryptic call from their grandson, authorities have said. They couldn't understand him, so they went next door to check on him but could not find the teen.
The 14-year-old who is too young to have a driver's license had taken a pickup truck and driven it about 3 miles to the school, crashing it into the playground fence, authorities said. Once there, he aimed at a door opening to let students out for recess.
Though shot in the shoulder, teacher Meghan Hollingsworth “was with-it enough” to close the door, lock it and barricade the students, said Superintendent Joanne Avery of Anderson County District 4 schools. Another teacher was able to get students already on the playground safely inside even though the teen had shot at them.
Jacob's family said late Thursday that the 6-year-old, who was shot in the leg, had sustained a major brain injury because of the amount of blood he had lost. The bullet hit the femoral artery.
"Jacob is in very critical condition, and we are hanging on every second," according to their statement.
The child was revived twice in the moments after the shooting, according to state Rep. Alan Clemmons, who said he is a friend of the family.
Gerald Gambrell, one of Jacob's brothers, spoke quietly and held back emotions while he talked about his little brother, who he said always wears a smile.
“He’s a wonderful kid. He doesn’t deserve any of this at all. No child in this world deserves this,” he said. “We’re waiting and hoping for a miracle.”