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Charges filed in Fairfax school bus shooting

A 14-year-old Fairfax County boy was charged Thursday with shooting into an occupied vehicle and reckless discharge of a weapon after he allegedly fired one shot from a rifle into a Fairfax school bus filled with middle-school students Wednesday afternoon. Police are trying to determine whether the shot was fired intentionally.

The incident happened about 3:15 p.m. on Summit Place near Oak Ridge Drive in the Lincolnia area of Fairfax. A bus with 31 students from Glasgow Middle School was struck by one bullet, which hit low on the bus's body, behind the right front tire, and was not close to the passenger compartment, Officer Don Gotthardt said.

Patrol officers, a helicopter and a tracking dog searched for the shooter, and within an hour had located the teenager, Gotthardt said. The boy and his family were cooperative, Gotthardt said, and police think the boy was using a .22-caliber rifle with a scope to shoot at birds. "We’re still attempting to determine whether the shooting at the bus was an intentional act," Gotthardt said.

No one on the bus was hurt. The boy was charged in juvenile court petitions issued Thursday.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  May 13, 2010; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , Juvenile Justice , Schools , Tom Jackman , Updates  
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Why does a teenager have a 22 with a scope without parental supervision.... go after the parents on this one. The teen obviously knows whats right and wrong but has not had the proper training on handling and when/where it is appropriate to shoot a weapon. What a shame

Posted by: rvanags | May 13, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Really. How would a teen have a 22 with a scope without parents knowing? Hopefully the police will take it away from the teen. But knowing them, probably not.

Posted by: The_Washington | May 13, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

hey, its Virginia. it's their god given right to own as many guns as possible and have fun shooting 'em at birds or whatever. just be glad confederate history month is over, or he would of been shooting at yankee carpet bagger federal workers.

Posted by: MarilynManson | May 14, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Fairfax County is your typical rural Deep South kind of place MarilynManson.

Posted by: AndrewKB | May 14, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

You don't shoot birds with a .22 rifle. Period. At least not if you want to actually hit one. I have no problem with a 14 y/o with a gun as long as he knows about them (until he pulls something like this). The first thing taught is that .22 bullets can go over a mile and to always be aware of what is in the direction you are shooting. This kid thought it would be cool if he shot the tire out on the bus and missed. What a stupid thing to do. Could have gone horribly wrong.

Posted by: garyfunke | May 14, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh how sad it is that You the Great Leading Nation of the world has come to this...In 1969 at the age of Ten I Walked into the School Grounds at 0730, showed my Shotgun to my Principle, Who then took me to his car, took out his shotgun showed me it then locked both guns into his car... I went to class...At the end of lessons we both got into his car.. drove off and had a great evenings Rabbit hunting...!To day the Whole school would be Locked Down and the Swat Team would be called in and the class and teachers would spend the next year in therapy...! At some point there will be a judge that say's enought......A kid shooting sparrows is not a law suit...even if a bus is hit.....Common sence say's a hit is ooops, not I'm attacking the bus....Several hits ....OK, A fleeing sniper...OK...but a kid that does not know what's happened till you tell him is not quite the same....USA...GROW SOME...Stop being a Litigation Nation....Most people on that bus would have never known the incident happened until they were told... but I bet most of them after the fact claimed for Stress or some form of injury.....Its a sad sad world you guy's live in....!

Posted by: chesty3 | May 14, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Garyfunke, Yes a bullet can go over a mile, some many miles. But unless you are several inches away from a Tire there is no way in hell a .22 is going to pop a tire. Let alone a school bus tire.....Also once the slug as reached its Summit of trajectory it any other falling object and only reaches terminal velocity...Given that you could see it coming you could catch a shot bullet in your hand were you beyond its summit of trajectory.

Posted by: chesty3 | May 14, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Chesty3, I don't agree, unless you are talking about a 22 "short" cartride. The 22LR (long rifle) cartridge (which this almost certainly was), although a rimfire, is easily capable of popping a tire at 200 yards. And it doesn't lose its potentially lethal velocity just because it has reached apex, unless you are talking about shooting straight up in the air. The 22LR is far less deadly than any centerfire rifle round, of course, and has difficulty penetrating auto panels or auto glass. Yes, it hits like an icepick, not like a military rifle round, but an icepick is dangerous too. The 22LR is plenty dangerous, and fully capable of killing a person at several hundred yards if it hits in the correct place.

14 year olds simply don't have the judgment to fire rifles, ANY rifles, outdoors without adult supervision. 14 year olds do goofy, bad-judgment things, even "good kids"; watch any group of skateboarders if you doubt me. I'd be nervous even letting a 16 year old go shooting alone with a 22LR. This kid and his parents were irresponsible, period. I agree that people did this a lot in the 1950s and earlier, but that was a less densely populated country and a lot of what saved people in the 1950s was luck, not brains.

Posted by: rowerinva | May 14, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Yep, looks like he wanted to shoot the tire and screwed it up. A girl once did something similar in which she popped off rounds into her school from her house across the street. Why asked why she said I don't like Mondays. Why their parents gave these kids access to guns is a mystery.

Posted by: silaswillrock | May 14, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes, in Virginia it is legal to have as many "firearms" as one wants. It is also legal to carry them openly. However, under Fairfax County Ordinance it is illegal to discharge a round in the county. So just by shooting the gun he broke the law. See section 6-1-2 of the county code.

Posted by: champion1 | May 15, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

The worst part was that he was shooting at birds. That one is actually a worse crime than shooting into an occupied vehicle as it is against the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and is a felony.

Posted by: hfmills | May 15, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

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