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Attorney: Socastee High shooting suspect was bullied

A 14-year-old Socastee High School student will remain in the custody of the state Department of Juvenile Justice for at least 10 more days and undergo a competency examination, a family court judge ruled today.

The teen's attorney said the boy has bullied for about half of his life and that will be play a prominent role in the case.

The teen has been held at a juvenile facility in Columbia since he was taken into custody Tuesday after police said he tried to shoot a school resource officer and took two pipe bombs to school. His name has not been released because he is a juvenile.

Thirteen people, including his parents, attended Friday's hearing at the Horry County Courthouse.

Alicia Richardson, 15th Circuit Assistant Solicitor, said prosecutors plan to file a motion to move the case to circuit court, which means the boy would be tried as an adult. A family court judge will rule on the motion.

"The reason is because of the seriousness of the charges," Richardson said. "Based on the serious nature of the charge and the potential loss of life that could have occurred in this incident."

The teen's attorney, Russell Long, said they plan to fight the motion and wants the teen to be tried as a juvenile.

"I’ve got a client who is a little boy who has some severe emotional mental issues. We’re going to do everything we can to get him the help he needs,” Long said.

Richardson said there was not enough time to prepare the motion before Friday's detention hearing, which is required 48 hours after a juvenile is taken into custody.

“The police are still investigating as of yesterday. There are additional materials we expect to receive from them,” Richardson said.

Part of the case will include accounts of the teen being bullied for about half of his life, Long said.

"There certainly an element of that in this case. I don’t think the reaction, the plan or the attempt he made was the proper response to bullying. We’ve got a young man who has been under the dark cloud of bullying for many years now,” Long said. "For some reason kids just picked on him as an easy target.We all have to be concerned about this.”

The teen's family declined to comment, but Long said, "They’re destroyed. They’re about in as bad of shape as you would expect them to be.”

The teen will be placed on a suicide watch.

Another detention hearing has been set for Oct. 5, which is standard in juvenile cases, Richardson said.

The teen faces charges of attempted murder; possession, threatened or attempted use of weapon of mass destruction for act of terrorism; and possession of a destructive device, Richardson said.

As a juvenile, the penalty of those charges is that the teen can be held for an indeterminate amount of time not to exceed his 21st birthday, Richardson said.

As an adult the penalty is up to 30 years in prison for the attempted murder charge; two to 15 years for the bomb making charge and 25 years to life in prison for the weapon of mass destruction charge, she said. But a juvenile may not be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

On Tuesday, the 14-year-old suspect reportedly fired a gun at school resource officer Erik Karney. Shrapnel struck Karney, who was able to restrain the student.

Karney did not attend Friday's hearing.

Bomb squads later found two pipe bombs in the student's bookbag and detonated them, according to authorities. The student was wearing the bookbag at the time of the incident.

Karney suffered minor injuries in his confrontation with the student and is on medical leave, Kegler said.

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