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102218-North-Scott-Jr-High-School-001

The statue "Spring Wind" stands outside North Scott Junior High School in Eldridge. The North Scott School District has been reviewing safety measures since Aug. 31, when a junior high student pointed a loaded gun at a teacher and pulled the trigger but had left the safety on.

A judge said Wednesday he will issue a written order at a later date to announce if he will reduce the bond of a 12-year-old boy accused of trying to shoot a North Scott Junior High School teacher in late August.

Judge Mark Cleve said he would take the matter under advisement following testimony and arguments during a 40-minute hearing in Scott County District Court.

The boy, who the Quad-City Times has not named because of his age, is being tried in adult court as a youthful offender on charges of attempted murder, assault while using or displaying a deadly weapon and carrying weapons on school grounds.

Court records allege the boy tried to fire a loaded .22-caliber pistol at his teacher's face on Aug. 31, but the safety was on and no shots were actually fired.

Prosecutors said in court documents that the teacher and a counselor “eventually had to literally pull the gun” out from the boy’s hands and, when asked what his intentions were, he said ‘to end it and anyone that got in my way.”

Just days before the incident, the boy had an issue with looking up guns on his school-issued Chromebook, prosecutors alleged in court documents.

He has been in juvenile detention since the incident. His trial is slated to begin Aug. 5.

His attorneys, Meenakshi Brandt and Melanie Thwing, asked Cleve Wednesday to reduce his $50,000 cash-only bond to $10,000 cash or surety and place him on an ankle monitor if he posts bond. 

“We are not asking that (the boy) be let off scot-free,” Thwing said. “We understand that these are extremely serious charges that he is facing.”

She added, “We are asking the court again to remember that he is 12-years-old, that he is willing to comply with the court, and that he would in essence be confined to his home.”

Thwing argued the boy would appear at all future court appearances and that it would not jeopardize "personal safety or safety of others" if he is released from custody.

She also pointed to the testimony of a DHS employee who testified Wednesday she did not have any safety or sanitation concerns after visiting the family’s home in January.

The boy’s mother testified she has identified a Christian-based online education program if he is released so he can continue with his education.

She also testified he can receive medical care with his family doctor in Davenport and dental services in Eldridge if the need arises, and has contacted therapists to provide mental health treatment.

Thwing further argued all weapons have been removed from the family’s home.

The boy's father, Joseph Andrews III, 51, was subsequently charged with possession of a firearm or offensive weapon by a felon after firearms were found in the home after the incident at the junior high school.

Assistant Scott County Attorney Julie Walton urged the judge to deny the defense motion for a bond reduction and said that the offenses he is facing are “very, very serious.”

“This is a child who has been accused essentially of attempting to commit a mass murder and has put an entire community in fear of his release,” she argued. “We do not see that anything has changed as far as the plan for this child. The home that he left the day he tried to commit this offense is the same home that the defense is proposing he be placed in with very little change other than that he would be schooled in that same home.”

Walton that “isolation within his home and have him poised behind a computer as an educational plan would not be a resolution to the threat that he places on the community” or improve “serious behavior deficiencies” revealed in psychological evaluations.

She also noted that his behavior has not been consistently good while he has been in detention.

Walton further said the boy is safe in juvenile detention, is being educated, and is receiving some help with his deficiencies as to his mental well-being and behavioral issues.

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