Judge orders Indiana school shooter’s release into custody of parents

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — A judge Wednesday approved the release of a teenager who opened fire at a central Indiana middle school in 2018, wounding another student and a teacher, a prosecutor said.

The judge approved the 18-year-old’s release from juvenile detention into the custody of his parents because he is now an adult and could no longer be legally held for crimes he committed while a minor, Hamilton County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Kocher told The Indianapolis Star.

The teenager will be on home detention with a GPS monitor and bound by restrictions including no guns or drugs, no computers unless monitored by probation officials, limited time on electronic devices, and no visits to schools or college campuses without prior approval.

Those limits are in place “to ensure the safety of the community,” Kocher said.

Kocher didn’t say when the teenager would be released from detention.

Hamilton Superior Court Judge Michael A. Casati on Aug. 14 ordered the teenager to be held in the Hamilton County Juvenile Service Center while probation officials found a suitable secure residential facility for him to ease the teenager’s return to society. However, Hamilton County authorities could not find such a facility.

The teenager, who was 13 at the time of the shooting, had been detained since shortly after he opened fire at Noblesville West Middle School in May 2018. He shot a seventh-grade science teacher and another 13-year-old student. The teacher, Jason Seaman, tackled and pinned him to the ground.

Seaman was shot three times, and the student, Ella Whistler, was shot seven times. No one was killed.

The teen was preparing to be released to his family when on March 20, prosecutors say, he assaulted a female counselor at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility by “fist-bumping” her breast, then joking about it with other juveniles. He was 17 at the time and was charged as a juvenile with battery.

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