CHARLESTON – A judge ordered a central Illinois high school student to undergo mental evaluations and remain in juvenile custody after the freshman was charged with opening fire in the school cafeteria and injuring another student.
The student faces a count of aggravated battery with a firearm after Wednesday’s shooting at Mattoon High School that left one student shot and in stable condition at a hospital. A judge during a Thursday hearing granted the evaluation requests from the student’s public defender. The boy’s parents agreed to the evaluations.
Coles County State’s Attorney Brian Bower, citing details and interviews from the Mattoon Police Department’s investigation, told the judge that the boy had a semi-automatic handgun.
Teacher Angela McQueen grabbed the boy’s arm as he fired at a girl, Bower said. The gunshot missed the girl but hit another student in the upper chest. More shots were fired into the cafeteria ceiling before McQueen subdued the boy, the prosecutor said. No details about motive were revealed.
Mattoon Police Chief Jeff Branson said the teacher’s intervention was pivotal.
“Had the teacher not responded as quickly as she had, I think the situation would have been a lot different,” Branson said Wednesday.
Mattoon School District 2 Superintendent Larry Lilly said he visited the injured student in the hospital.
“With permission from his father, I can share his son is smiling, in stable condition, in good spirits and joked about catching some slack on his grades,” Lilly said.
The teen is next due in court Oct. 5. Mattoon is about 180 miles south of Chicago.