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Police Charge Suspect in Liberty Tech Shooting

DOWNTOWN JACKSON -- Jackson police have charged a Liberty High School student in connection with Thursday afternoon's shooting on campus.

The 16-year-old male has been charged with aggravated assault for shooting another student, carrying a weapon on school property, alteration of an item with permanent distinguishing numbers because the serial numbers had been altered on the handgun, and tampering with evidence.

The teen had a detention hearing this morning in Madison County Juvenile Court. Judge Christy Little set his bond at $20,000 and placed conditions upon release. The teen must reside with his mother who lives in middle Tennessee with exceptions for appointments with an attorney.

The teen was released from the Madison County Detention Center in lieu of bond around 2 p.m. The District Attorney's Office has indicated they will file a motion to have the teen tried as an adult.

At 2:21 p.m. Thursday, Jackson police received a call of a shooting at Liberty Technology Magnet High School at 3470 Ridgecrest Road Ext. Police, Madison County Sheriff's Deputies and the Tennessee Highway Patrol responded. A 17-year-old Liberty student was transported by ambulance to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital with a single gunshot wound to the thigh.

Police learned that victim was shot outside, in front of the school, as school was being dismissed for the day. The shooter was identified as a 16-year-old Liberty student.

Police quickly developed locations where the shooter might be and began checking addresses. Approximately 30 minutes after the shooting, officers took the shooter into custody at his grandmother's home on the 600 block of Cotton Grove Road in Madison County.

Officers continued to search the area for the gun. Around 5 p.m., a Jackson police dog found the gun about 25 yards behind a house on the 800 block of Cotton Grove Road.

The gun's serial numbers had been altered.

Investigators learned that the 16-year-old suspect and 17-year-old shooting victim had been in a previous disagreement concerning a female Liberty student. When school was dismissed, the 17-year-old approached the 16-year-old. There was an altercation, and the 16-year-old shot the 17-year-old. The 17-year-old did not have a gun.

The shooter then flagged down an unsuspecting parent of another student. This parent was unaware of the shooter's involvement and gave him a ride to Cotton Grove Road.

The shooting victim remains in the hospital in stable condition.

A court date for the transfer hearing has not been set.


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