ANDERSON - The teenager who shot and killed a child on a South Carolina school yard cried and apologized afterward and said it was a good thing his gun jammed before he could shoot more children, a detective testified Monday.
Anderson County Det. Ronald Wood's comments Monday came during a hearing to determine whether the teenager, who faces two murder charges in the deaths of his father and an elementary school student, will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.
The teenager was 14 years old in September 2016 when authorities say he shot his 47-year-old father at home and then drove to Townville Elementary School and started shooting at first-graders on a playground. One boy died, and a teacher and another student were wounded.
"Good thing my gun jammed or I would have shot more," Wood quoted the teenager as saying as he was put in the back of a police vehicle.
Wood told defense attorneys that the boy's grandfather - who rushed to the school after his grandson called him to say he killed his father - told officers the teen stayed in his room all the time because his parents were drunk and he was being home-schooled because he was being bullied.
Wood testified at a hearing that started Monday to determine if the now 15-year-old boy is tried as an adult for the killings of his 47-year-old father and 6-year-old Jacob Hall at the school.
If tried as a juvenile, the boy can only stay behind bars until he is 21. If convicted of murder as an adult, he could face decades in prison.
The Associated Press is not using the defendant's name because he has not been charged as an adult, but testimony at the hearing could shed some light on the chain of events that led to the shootings. The hearing could last several days.
Along with two counts of murder, the teenager is charged with three counts of attempted murder and five counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Calls to 911 suggest the carnage could have been worse. A teacher told the emergency operator the teen was standing just five feet from the first-graders as they tried to get back in the school but didn't fire or try to force his way inside.
"When she was trying to get all the children in, he was standing right behind the kids, and he just threw his arms up and he was saying, he gave up, he gave up," the caller said.
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