MADISON TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - The 14-year-old accused in a shooting at Madison Jr/Sr High School won't be tried as an adult, the Butler County Prosecutor's Office announced Wednesday.
James Austin Hancock will be tried as a juvenile on four counts of attempted murder, four counts of felonious assault and one count of inducing panic, Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said.
If convicted of attempted murder in juvenile court, the teen would serve incarcerated as a juvenile until he turns 21. If he gets into trouble, he would then serve more time in an adult prison," the prosecutor tells FOX19 NOW.
"If the judge or jury finds that attempted murder applies, (serious youthful offender) status is mandatory for a 14-year-old juvenile and results in the imposition of what is called a blended sentence," Gmoser said. "The judge will send the juvenile to state supervision until the juvenile is 21 followed by a sentence as an adult for a period the judge will determine.
"This period, however, will only be imposed if the juvenile commits a violent offense or breaks supervision rules while in a state facility until the age of 21.
"If the judge or jury only finds the juvenile delinquent for the offense of felonious assault, (serious youthful offender) status is only an option and is not mandatory. In that event, the judge may impose what is referred to as traditional treatment with a wide range of less restrictive options for rehabilitation."
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones has called for Hancock to be tried as an adult after the teen allegedly fired at other students using a .380-caliber handgun Feb. 29.
But after consulting with the prosecutor's office, Jones said he agreed with the decision, telling FOX19 NOW "it's a good outcome for a bad situation."
Moments after the shooting, the teen threw his weapon down, ran from the school and was shortly taken into custody near campus, authorities have said.
A school resource officer was on site in the cafeteria but left just before the shooting, sheriff's officials have said.
The resource officer returned, and a foot chase ensued. Hancock, who also attends the school, was caught shortly after.
Four students were hurt: Cameron Smith, 15, and Cooper Caffrey, 14, were injured by the gunfire. Brant Murray, 14, and Katherine Doucette, 14, were injured by flying shrapnel or hurt trying to get out of the building, Jones said Wednesday.
All of their injuries are considered non-life threatening.
Officials say they have an idea of a shooting motive, but have not released that information.
"While the physical injuries were limited to four hapless students, an entire local population of young people and all those who love them have suffered in ways unimaginable," Gmoser said.
"It speaks to the truth that some of the deepest wounds are the ones we cannot see. Hopefully, with time, these too will heal, but it will be a slow process."
FOX19 NOW will continue to update this breaking story on air and online.