A 16-year-old pleaded guilty to charges of a shooting at New Hanover High School on August 30, after appearing in court on Monday afternoon.
In August, the teenager was arrested by the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and faced multiple charges.
The incident left one student with non-life threatening injuries after a fight started in the catwalk with dozens of students gathered to watch before shots were fired.
School and emergency officials quarantined New Hanover High School and students were then evacuated and sent to Williston Middle School, before being released to their families in groups at the MLK Community Center.
‘Nothing ever changes’: Months after New Hanover school shooting, parents want to do more
Continued:New courthouse details released in New Hanover High shooting case
The teenager was sentenced to a minimum of four years and a maximum of five years and 10 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections. Samantha Dooies, assistant district attorney, said the minor will serve time in a juvenile facility until he turns 18.
Assistant District Attorney Ashton Herring spoke to the judge about how the juvenile father said the teen was bullied early in school, which led to the fight.
The 15-year-old victim suffered injuries to his finger and leg, which required surgery.
During her presentation to the judge, Herring added that she would be remorseful if she did not mention the impact of the incident on the county, while mentioning a video of backpacks. She recounted how students took refuge in classrooms in fear, unsure if a shooter was in the classroom or nearby.
Herring said parents have also expressed fear of sending their students back to school, while some have decided to homeschool.
Continued:Threats to Wilmington-area schools erupt after New Hanover High School shooting
“I don’t think our community will ever be the same since the events that unfolded on August 30,” Herring said.
In defense of the minor, attorney Brian Moore said the incident started because a child was being bullied and decided to arm himself after being jumped. Moore said that was untrue, but added that his client’s intent was not to carry out a school shooting and kill many people.
“It’s not Columbine, it’s not Sandy Hook,” Moore said. “It’s not a student who walks in with a mask and tries to shoot as many students as possible.”
When law enforcement came to arrest the student, Moore said the teenager did not try to run away and cooperated with authorities. He referred to military soldiers with PTSD after serving and receiving help, but mentioned that students like the miner cannot receive help – instead of going to a place he says will cause no more PTSD or stress.”
Previous:New Hanover High School Shooting: School Canceled Tuesday, Crisis Team Available
Wilson said he didn’t want to condemn a 16-year-old for anything and encouraged the minor to improve himself and become a mentor to other young people so they don’t make the same mistake.
“It’s your worst hour and I hope it doesn’t determine the rest of your life,” Wilson said. “But that will be up to you.”
According to court officials, the minor plans to complete his education, undergo a GED and psychological treatment during his sentence. Before leaving the courtroom and after facing the judge, the minor turned around and faced the public gallery with family members, officials and television cameras.
“My life is not over,” said the teenager. “I want everyone to know that.”
Journalist Chase Jordan can be reached at [email protected]