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Florida teen arrested for shooting on school bus

Earlier this month, a serious case of juvenile crime unfolded as a 15-year-old South Florida boy was arrested and charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of another child. According his arrest report, the boy boarded his school bus one morning, removed a handgun from his backpack and began displaying it to the other children. Then, he fired the gun once, striking a 13-year-old girl.

The girl was taken to the hospital via air ambulance, but doctors were unable to save her life. None of the eight other children on the bus were harmed. Authorities took the children and the bus driver to the police station for questioning.

This case still presents a great number of questions that beg to be answered. Chief among them is the question of the boy's intentions in taking a gun on the bus. Reports are unclear whether the boy intended to fire the gun, or if the weapon simply went off accidentally as he handled it. It seems possible that the killing was accidental, but it may be difficult for investigators to ascertain the truth.

The bus was not equipped with a security camera, so all testimony regarding the boy's actions will need to come from the other children. Reports are unclear as to their ages, but at least one of them is as young as seven years old. In a criminal investigation, officials may encounter difficulty in obtaining dependable information from such small children.

It is not uncommon for cases of juvenile crime to involve the testimony of children. In such cases, defense attorneys involved should approach such testimony very carefully to ensure that it is absolutely reliable. In some cases, children may not fully understand the seriousness of the criminal trial. Due to the severe consequences that juvenile offences can have for a child's future, it is vital that all evidence is held up to rigorous review before it is allowed in a court proceeding.

Source: The Star Tribune, "Juvenile charged in fatal shooting of teenage girl on Florida school bus," Kelli Kennedy and Suzette Laboy, Nov. 20, 2012

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