Prosecutor to ask judge to move juvenile shooting to adult court

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Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton

GREENFIELD — Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton says he plans to move forward with charging a 17-year-old, who police say shot a 16-year-old in the stomach earlier this week, as an adult. However, due to the shooter’s age, Eaton noted, they’ll have to have a county judge sign a special wavier giving his office permission to do that.

The 17-year-old juvenile, whose identity will not be released until the judge gives approval, will have an initial hearing in Hancock County Circuit Court on Monday, Aug. 14. Eaton noted it could take a few days or up to as many as 30 days for the judge to determine if the case should be moved to adult court as his office is requesting through an official wavier.

“We will be asking the judge for this case to be in adult court,” Eaton said. “There will have to be a separate hearing where evidence will be presented that will allow us to do that or not do that.”

Eaton noted his office has filed the wavier for the crimes committed, which his office says include preliminary charges of aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony, and other gun crimes. The 17-year-old shooter is currently being held in juvenile custody at a facility in Pendleton. The victim, Eaton noted, has serious stomach injuries to overcome, but it appears he’s going to survive.

“Fortunately, it looks like he’s going to be alright,” Eaton said. “There is a lot going on with the case that we can’t get into just yet.”

The 17-year-old shooter was officially booked into the Hancock County Jail early Monday morning. However, officials quickly moved the teenager to the juvenile facility in Pendleton about an hour later, stating they needed to wait for all reports to be filed before deciding if the teenager should be charged as an adult.

The shooting took place on the east side of Greenfield around 4:40 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Aug. 6. The incident happened in the 1100 block of East 1st Street, just east of Riley Park. The 16-year-old was shot in the stomach and was taken to an Indianapolis hospital via a helicopter after an initial stop at Hancock Regional Hospital.

Greenfield Police Department (GPD) Chief Brian Hartman told the Daily Reporter earlier this week that numerous juveniles are getting access to illegal guns and illegal drugs and are taking part in serious crimes in the area.

Hartman and officials from the GPD have been dealing with a major issue of local teenagers carrying illegal guns and getting involved in criminal activities. Officials have seen an uptick of juvenile shootings and juveniles involved in illegal activity since last year.

“The circle started out small, but the more we look into it, the bigger it just keeps getting,” Hartman said.

Hartman noted at the time that these types of issues will not be curbed until teenagers who are acting out violent behavior with guns are held accountable.