17-year-old charged in Magruder High shooting to be tried as adult

The 17-year-old accused of shooting a classmate with a so-called ghost gun in a Montgomery County, Maryland, high school bathroom earlier this year will be tried as an adult.

Judge David Boynton ruled Thursday in Montgomery County Circuit that Steven Alston Jr. will not have his case moved to juvenile court.

Alston, who was initially charged as an adult, is facing charges of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and weapons charges in the Jan. 21 shooting at Magruder High School that critically wounded a 15-year-old student.

Police said Alston met up with the other boy in a school bathroom to settle a dispute and shot the boy in the pelvis after first pointing it at his head, before dismantling the gun and returning to a classroom as the school entered an hourslong lockdown.

Police later found part of the disassembled gun underneath his desk and in his backpack.

Other students, police said, were in the bathroom at the time of the shooting, but officials said they never called police or notified teachers, even though they tweeted about it.

The incident also sparked debate about Montgomery County officials’ decision to remove school resource officers from county high schools in favor of “community engagement officers,” who aren’t stationed in schools and have more limited roles.

In charging documents, police said Alston told investigators after his arrest that he bought the 9 mm firearm on the internet and had a friend help him put it together.

According to charging documents, he told police he brought the gun to school because he was worried he was going to get jumped and that, once inside the bathroom, he only pulled the gun out because he didn’t want to fight and wanted to scare his classmate away.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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