A 14-year-old South Carolina boy accused of killing his father and wounding three people during a school shooting has been charged as a juvenile with murder and three counts of attempted murder.
The teen, who hasn't been identified because of his age, appeared in juvenile court on Friday wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit without any restraints. A judge ordered him to continue to be held.
The teen is accused of killing his father at their home on Wednesday before driving a pickup truck to a nearby elementary school and opening fire. Two students and a teacher at Townville Elementary were wounded. One of the students, a 6-year-old boy, is in critical condition at a local hospital.
Anderson County Solicitor Chrissy T. Adams said the public wouldn't be allowed in because the suspect is a juvenile and prosecutors won't provide additional details about the shooting, which occurred Wednesday.
"While I realize there are many unanswered questions, the investigation into this tragedy is in a critical stage, and is ongoing," she said in a statement.
On Thursday, firefighters recounted the harrowing scene at the school, in a quiet community near the Georgia line. When two volunteer firefighters rolled up to the school, they said they found only a wrecked black pickup truck at the playground. There was no gunman and no one inside the truck.
Within minutes, though, it was clear something awful had happened. One went inside to help treat the wounded and the other searched for the shooter, and neighbors are now calling them heroes.
"This was more than just another call to us. This incident occurred in the school where our children and the children of the community attend," Townville Fire Chief Billy McAdams said Thursday during a news conference, pausing to keep his emotions in check.
Authorities say the teen shot his father, 47-year-old Jeffrey Osborne, at their home before driving the pickup 3 miles down a country road lined with chicken houses and pine trees to Townville Elementary. He only had to make two turns to arrive at the red brick school, where he crashed the truck, got out and fired at a door as it was being opened for recess, authorities said.
Bullets struck two students and a first-grade teacher, and the building was immediately placed on lock down.
Anderson 4 Superintendent Joanne Avery said staff saved lives by flawlessly implementing active-shooter training drills conducted with students over the past few years — at Townville Elementary, most recently just last week.
Though shot in the shoulder, the teacher "was with-it enough" to close the door, lock it and barricade the students, Avery said.
"If he'd gotten in the school, it would've been a different scenario," she said.
The shooter then fired toward students on the playground but missed. A teacher who heard the first gunshot was able to get those students safely inside, Avery said.
Law enforcement swarmed the school and looked for the shooter, finding him near the back of the school building.
Relatives of one of the wounded, 6-year-old Jacob Hall, said he remained on life support in a hospital. His family issued a statement late Thursday saying the boy sustained a major brain injury due to the amount of blood he lost after being shot in the leg. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Hall's family. His parents have missed work to be with him in the hospital and need financial assistance, according to the person who established the fundraising drive.
The shot teacher and another student who was hit in the foot were treated and released from a hospital, officials said.
Authorities said they don't yet know a motive for the shooting and they were not sure if the students and teacher were targeted or shot randomly.
Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper said the teen had been homeschooled, but the reason isn't clear.
Classes are scheduled to resume at the school Monday, but second-grader Mattie LeCroy doesn't want to go. Asked whether she was scared to return to school, the blond-haired 7-year-old simply nodded her head "yes" after dropping off flowers for Jacob with her mom at the town's fire station.