TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — A 13-year-old Taunton boy faced a judge Tuesday on charges he shot another boy who had reportedly been bullying him.
Appearing in Taunton Juvenile Court, the middle school student was ordered held without bail, pending a dangerousness hearing on Wednesday.
According to police, the boy was being bullied on social media and the group doing the bullying showed up at his home during the holiday on Monday. Feeling threatened, the boy retrieved his mother’s rifle and wound up firing at one of the boys, police said.
The bullet struck a 12-year-old boy in the arm and ended up lodged in his chest, according to police. He’s expected to be OK.
The shooter was charged as a juvenile with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and firing a gun near a dwelling.
Police said the gun belonged to the boy’s mother, and she owned it lawfully and had it locked up.
The boy’s mother said the bullying had been going on for years.
“On a daily basis, telling him to hang himself, to kill himself, just different things like that,” she said.
The mother said her son only intended to fire a warning shot.
“He went to go shoot in the air and it shot him in the arm,” she said. “He’s a good kid. They’ve been doing this for two years, so he just had enough.”
The shooting victim’s great-uncle spoke to Eyewitness News on Tuesday, and said the boy is expected to recover after undergoing surgery.
He said he doesn’t condone bullying if it took place, but also doesn’t believe violence is the answer.
“Kids do argue, but I never thought it’d come to this,” he said.
Taunton Superintendent Julie Hackett, Ed.D. said the two boys attended different schools in the city: Friedman and Martin Middle Schools. In a letter to parents on Tuesday, Hackett said there will be an increased police presence at city schools and guidance counselors will be made available. See the full letter below.
Dear Parents and Caregivers:
The Taunton Police Department contacted us concerning a shooting that occurred yesterday. The shooting involved two Taunton middle school students: one from Friedman Middle School, and one from Martin Middle School.
A student from Martin Middle School was shot and is said to be in stable condition. Schools were closed yesterday in observance of Columbus Day, and the incident reportedly took place at the East Taunton residence of one of the students involved.
To the best of our knowledge, this is strictly an out-of-school issue and is in no way connected to the Taunton Public Schools. We are thankful that no lives were lost as a result of this unfortunate event, and our hearts go out to all involved.
When inexplicable incidents like this happen, it is natural for your child to have questions, concerns, worries, and fears. It helps for parents and caregivers to reassure your child that s/he is safe and additional supports are available at school if needed. The Taunton Police Department will have an increased presence in our middle schools, and guidance counselors, teachers, administrators and support staff are available to assist any student who may require additional support.
This remains an active investigation that is being handled by the Taunton Police Department, and no additional details have been released. If you have concerns, please feel free to contact your building principal or the Superintendent’s office.
Julie Hackett, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools