ANDERSON, S.C. — A 14-year-old South Carolina boy was charged as juvenile with murder and attempted murder Friday, two days after he was accused of opening fire on a kindergarten class heading outside for recess.
One of the victims, 6-year-old Jacob Hall, was on life support Friday night at Greenville Health System Children's Hospital, about 35 miles away.
The hearing in the family division of South Carolina's 10th Judicial Circuit Court did not address whether the prosecution will move to try the teen as an adult. USA TODAY does not normally name juveniles charged with a crime unless they face charges in adult court.
The boy's father, Jeffrey Osborne, 47, was found dead at around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday at his home, shortly before news of the shooting at Townville Elementary School surfaced.
The suspect's mother, Tiffney Osborne, cried throughout the hearing and declined to speak to publicly afterward. Her son, who was brought into the courtroom in a yellow jumpsuit and was wearing no restraints, showed no emotion in his first court appearance and has returned to a juvenile facility in Greenville, S.C.
"We have never had something so serious involving school children," Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper, speaking through tears, said before the hearing.
In court, Frank Eppes of Greenville, lawyer for the teen, said the 14-year-old previously had given a statement to police and warned law-enforcement officers that the teen should not be asked to give a statement without his lawyer present. No details of what happened before or during the shootings were disclosed in the hearing.
Prosecutors had asked that the hearing be closed but a lawyer for the Anderson Independent Mail, The Greenville News and other news organizations attended the proceedings to ensure that the public had access. The 10th Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office said South Carolina law allows prosecutors to seal court records in the case because it involves a juvenile.
Another hearing is expected in the next 40 days, Eppes said.
Whether multiple 911 calls placed during the shootings will be made public will be decided next week, said Lt. Sheila Cole of the Anderson County Sheriff's Office.
While two of the victims, a first-grade teacher and 6-year-old student, were wounded Wednesday and have been treated and released, the bullet that hit Jacob in the leg found his femoral artery.
Jacob's family said late Thursday that the 6-year-old had sustained a major brain injury because of the amount of blood he had lost.
"Jacob is in very critical condition, and we are hanging on every second," according to their statement. A family friend started a GoFundMe page for the family that has raised more than $125,000 in a day.
The shootings began when the 14-year-old's grandparents received a cryptic cellphone call from their grandson, authorities have said. They couldn't understand him, so they went next door to check on him, finding Jeffrey Osborne's body but no sign of the teen.
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The 14-year-old who is too young to have a driver's license had taken a pickup truck and driven it about 3 miles to the school, crashing it into the playground fence, authorities said. Once there, he aimed at a door opening to let students out for recess.
Though shot in the shoulder, teacher Meghan Hollingsworth “was with-it enough” to close the door, lock it and barricade the students, said Superintendent Joanne Avery of Anderson County District 4 schools. Another teacher was able to get students already on the playground safely inside even though the teen had shot at them.
Jacob was revived twice in the moments after the shooting, according to state Rep. Alan Clemmons, a Myrtle Beach Republican who said he is a friend of the family.
Gerald Gambrell, one of Jacob's brothers, spoke quietly and held back emotions while he talked about his little brother, who he said always wears a smile.
“He’s a wonderful kid. He doesn’t deserve any of this at all. No child in this world deserves this,” he said. “We’re waiting and hoping for a miracle.”
Contributing: Nathaniel Cary, The Greenville (S.C.) News; The Associated Press. Follow Nikie Mayo and Mike Ellis on Twitter: @NikieMayo and @MikeEllis_AIM