A teenage girl who was driving an SUV used in the attempted murder of a 17-year-old boy has been arrested, shifting investigators’ focus on the gun used in the shooting, an official said.
The girl is 15 and will be charged as an adult in the case, which involves serious wounds inflicted Wednesday in Bayside Park as a 17-year-old was riding a bicycle on Hancock Drive near Madison Street, Hancock County Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan said Friday.
The alleged shooter, also 15, was arrested later Wednesday at his home on Oktibbeha Street, where deputies found the suspected weapon.
“It was a small-caliber handgun, and somebody had modified it to make it a semi-automatic capable of firing multiple shots,” Grannan said.
“It is not an assault rifle, but the barrel was cut off to allow it to be easily concealed.”
Deputies also arrested the 15-year-old boy on a charge of tampering with physical evidence.
“He hid the gun from us,” Grannan said.
Investigators want to know who gave the 15-year-old the gun and who modified it, he said.
The real story here is these are all kids. They’re children. That’s the tragic part. And there’s not a gun law in the world that will stop kids from getting guns.
Glenn Grannan, chief investigator for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department
Witness accounts from people who were on Hancock Drive, the community’s “main drag,” helped identify the girl and parts of what happened, Grannan said.
Investigators believe the girl drove a white sport utility vehicle past the 17-year-old, turned around and positioned the vehicle so her passenger could fire shots, he said.
“Based on the information we've been able to gather, she had complete knowledge of what was taking place,” Grannan said.
The girl’s passenger shot the older teen twice in the upper back of his neck, indicating the victim was trying to run away, he said.
Another person on a bicycle came along and witnessed part of the shooting, he said.
Deputies had stopped the SUV shortly after the shooting, he said. The alleged shooter’s mother was driving the SUV, but he was not in the vehicle. Deputies went to the house and seized the suspected weapon, arrested the teen and called for a tow truck so the SUV could be searched for evidence.
Preliminary hearing pending
“The real story here is these are all kids,” Grannan said. “They’re children. That’s the tragic part. And there’s not a gun law in the world that will stop kids from getting guns.”
A preliminary hearing likely will be held after the Fourth of July holiday. A judge will decide if there’s probable cause to send the case to a Hancock County grand jury.
Grannan said the 15-year-olds are being held at the county jail. Each has a $1 million bond set by Justice Court Judge Jay Lagasse, Grannan said.
Juveniles arrested on many felony charges are prosecuted in a youth court, but not this type of crime.
“Because of the nature of this crime, Mississippi law dictates this case be prosecuted in Circuit Court because of the severity of the crime,” Grannan said.