APOPKA, Fla. (WFLA) — The 11-year-old boy accused of shooting two teenagers at a football practice in Apopka, Florida, earlier this week appeared in court Wednesday.
According to NBC Affiliate WESH, the child’s defense attorney, Robert Mandell, claimed the boy is “traumatized,” adding this incident is “going to change his life.”
While in court, Mandell asked for the boy to be released to his grandparents, saying he already deals with emotional issues that require counseling. WESH reported that the 11-year-old’s attorney said the older boys were bullying him in the rec center parking lot before the shooting occurred.
“You can count more than six people running after him after they attacked him,” Mandell said.
According to Apopka Police Chief Mike McKinley, officers were dispatched to the Field of Fame around 8:30 p.m. Monday for reports of a shooting at a Pop Warner football practice. McKinley stated that the 11-year-old got into an altercation with two 13-year-olds.
The boy then went to his mother’s car and grabbed an unsecured gun from under the front seat. WESH said that the arrest report says others were “hitting and chasing the shooter, just prior to the shooting” and that the boy “fired a single show at the back of victim 1.”
The state said the 11-year-old’s actions should keep him in detention.
“This is life-changing to my victim who is in the hospital, with extensive injuries that will alter his life forever, based on the actions of that child,” Assistant State Attorney Shannon Corack told the judge.
Chief McKinley said both the teens are expected to survive.
During the emotional day in court, the aunt of one of the hospitalized 13-year-olds, Shauna Simon, showed empathy towards the 11-year-old.
“I’m not angry with you. I have love for you,” Simon said. She also provided an update on her loved one.
“My nephew is fighting for his life; he has had life-altering changes that he’ll have to deal with for the rest of his life; he may not even be able to play sports,” she said.
According to WESH, the arrest report suggested that the “shooter did not have to re-engage with victim 1 due to victim 1 walking away and appearing to no longer be a threat.”
The new station also said the state urged the judge to keep the 11-year-old detained.
“He needs to remain in secure detention for the security of the community, for the victim,” Corack said. The judge agreed despite the defense urging release, WESH reported.
“There has to be a better way to address this than throwing children in jail,” Mandell said.
WESH stated that Simon told the courtroom her nephew’s thoughts on any release of the alleged shooter, saying, “He needs to start learning accountability right now. My nephew thinks he’d get out and do it again with the same carelessness that he did that day.”
According to WESH, the 13-year-old grazed by the bullet has been released from the hospital. The 11-year-old was charged with attempted second-degree murder after the shooting.