Teen South Carolina school shooting suspect charged with murder - report

County sheriff's deputies and investigators walk out of Townville Elementary School after the shooting on Sept 28, 2016.
County sheriff's deputies and investigators walk out of Townville Elementary School after the shooting on Sept 28, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (REUTERS) - A South Carolina teenager suspected of killing his father and wounding two boys and a teacher at an elementary school was charged on Friday (Sept 30) with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder, the office of the local solicitor said.

The 14-year-old boy, who has not been named by authorities, will remain in custody for at least another 48 hours after he appeared before a state judge for a hearing behind closed doors on Friday, a staff member at the 10th Judicial Circuit solicitor’s office confirmed to Reuters by telephone.

The hearing did not consider the question of whether he will be tried as an adult, according to the solicitor’s office.

The teenager was arrested on Wednesday after police said he crashed a pickup truck into a fence around Townville Elementary School and then shot and wounded two students and a teacher.

Prior to that, he had shot and killed his father, 47-year-old Jeffrey Osborne, as the man watched television at their home about 3km from the school, according to authorities.

The shooting was the latest at a US school to stoke debate about access to guns. Many schools have bolstered security since 2012 when a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Six-year-old Jacob Hall, one of the students who was shot at Townville Elementary, remained in critical condition at a local children’s hospital on Friday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

His family said he is on life support after a bullet tore his femoral artery, causing blood loss that led to a “major brain injury.”

“We are hanging on every second,” said his uncle, Johnny Bridges, reading a statement to reporters on Thursday evening.

“Please continue to pray for Jacob and the other victims of this horrible, senseless crime.”

The teacher, Meghan Hollingsworth, and another boy, also aged six, were less badly hurt.

Jamie Brock, an unarmed volunteer firefighter, pinned down the shooter until police arrived, Billy McAdams, chief of the Townville Volunteer Fire Department told a news conference.

Authorities said they did not know of any link between the shooter, who was home-schooled, and the victims.

Citing the aunt of a six-year-old girl who witnessed the attack, the Greenville News reported that the suspect said, “I hate my life,” before firing a handgun at the school.