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11-year-old accused of bringing gun, amunition to school, erupts in Vancouver courtroom

Doctors who evaluated the 11-year-old Vancouver boy accused of planning to kill a classmate at his school last week said he has a history of violent outbursts and has trouble with authority.

The boy is facing an attempted murder charge after taking a gun, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and seven knives to school to carry out his plot.

This boy’s trouble with authority and violent side came out in court Tuesday when a juvenile commissioner ruled he must stay in detention and deputies tried to escort him out. The boy swore at the commissioner and then said to deputies, “get their (expletive) hands off me.”

Clark County deputy prosecutor Rick Olson argued the 6th grader poses a great risk to his family and the community and should not be released.

“These are serious charges,” he told the court. “He’s looking at a couple of years in a juvenile institution. He’s looking at very intensive counseling to hopefully get him back on the right track. Those issues are not going to go away.”

The psychologist who examined the boy told the court he has a history of suicidal thoughts and violent outbursts that have intensified over the last few months.

His parents contacted mental health professionals three times this month for help. They were told to secure their home, but prosecutor Olson said that wasn’t done. The boy’s attorney says the family disabled the guns in the home and claims the gun the boy took to school was also incapable of firing.

Olson called the 11-year-old calculating and well aware of what he was planning. That’s why he is recommending a charge of attempted murder.

Newly released court documents claim the boy took the gun, ammunition and knives to school on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of last week. They suggest he was going to shoot his classmate earlier in the week but couldn’t disable the gun’s safety.

Deputy prosecutor Olson said the boy planned the attack for the most impact on the school. “He decides to wait until later in the day when kids are leaving on the bus because it would have more of an impact and people would see that and be afraid of him,” he said.

The court is now deciding on the boy’s capacity and competency.

Kim Ambrose, at the University of Washington law school, said because the boy is under 12, a lot must happen before he can actually be put on trial.

“The burden is on the state to establish that this particular child understood the act and knew that the act was wrong,” she said.

If the boy is found to not have the capacity to stand trial, Ambrose said the criminal case cannot proceed.

“They would have to look to other systems to serve this family, to help this child if he is in need of help, so that he doesn’t engage in dangerous behavior in the future.”

If he is determined to have the capacity to stand trial, it must be decided if he has the competency to help assist in his defense.

The boy’s next hearing is scheduled for November 12.

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