The shooting that happened at Heritage High School in Newport News, Virginia, took place on September 20th 2021. Again, I’m backlogged on these stories and still have a slew to go. Plus, my little ‘breaks’ aren’t helping, but I digress.
In what seems to be an ongoing theme this year, the shooting stemmed from a fight. I haven’t read what started the fight, but after the fight was over, the 15-year-old unnamed shooter took a gun from his waist and shot the 17-year-old victim multiple times. The victim was shot behind his left ear, in the left leg, and received extensive damage to one of his fingers. He is expected to recover from his injuries. A 17-year-old girl was also grazed by a bullet and received minor injuries.
The suspect is said to have fled the school, but was later turned into authorities by relatives. The suspect reportedly dropped his backpack after the shooting. When police searched the backpack, they said that there were papers inside with a particular student’s name written on them.
The victim claims that he didn’t know the suspect prior to the shooting. However, police are saying that this was a targeted attack.
The 15-year-old suspect was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the shooting because he was awaiting trial on another shooting charge. The ankle monitor was also used to indicate that the suspect was in the school at the time of the shooting. In 2020 when the suspect was 14, he allegedly shot another teenager on the streets of Newport News. In that case, the teen was charged with malicious wounding, using a firearm in a felony and underage possession of a firearm. The suspect has yet to go to trial for those charges and now faces additional charges of two counts of aggravated malicious wounding and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, underage possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm on school property, discharging a firearm on school property, discharge firearm in an occupied building, reckless handling of a firearm, and carrying a concealed weapon. Under Virginia law, a 14-year-old can be charged as an adult if they’re accused of a violent felony, although it’s left up to the prosecution’s discretion.
Parents of Heritage High students were asking why metal detectors were not being used the day of the shooting. The school stated that the metal detectors are used at random or when a specific threat is made against the school. As I have discussed way too many times recently, metal detectors are not a magic bullet, so to speak. Unless you funnel the students through the metal detectors like passengers at an airport, the metal detectors can miss a weapon being brought into the school.
And yet again, what I’m not hearing is where did the shooter get the gun. This kid was able to get his hands on a gun not once, but at least twice. While Virginia isn’t exactly Texas, it’s not what I’d call a gun-adverse state. As with most school shootings, I doubt that whoever allowed the guns to fall into this kid’s hands will be prosecuted. If they are, I doubt it will result in any serious sentencing.
- Heritage High School shooting captured on surveillance footage; court records describe injuries and aftermath
- Heritage High shooting left parents asking ‘where are the metal detectors?’ But would they help?
- Boy accused in Heritage High shooting fought victim, was wearing tracking bracelet, court docs show
- Police: Heritage High shooting suspect was 15-year-old student, family member took him to authorities
- Teen charged in Heritage High double shooting was facing pending charges in 2020 shooting
- 17-year-old’s father says son didn’t know Heritage High student who shot him, but court papers show they had fought earlier
UPDATE 8/6/2022: The shooter, 16-year-old Jacari Taylor, has been sentenced to ten years behind bars. He will serve a blended sentence, meaning he’ll remain in juvenile custody until his 21st birthday. At that time, he’ll serve the remainder of his sentence in adult prison.