Accused North Thurston shooter pleads not guilty, could be charged as an adult

The teen suspect who fired shots at North Thurston High School will return to court later this month to determine whether he will be charged as an adult.

The 16-year-old suspect, who is not being named because he is a minor, pleaded not guilty Monday at his arraignment in Thurston County Juvenile Court.

In a hearing scheduled for May 26, the state will present the court with an opportunity to charge the suspect as an adult, said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Wayne Graham.

The teen has been charged with five crimes related to the April 27 incident in which he fired a .357 Magnum twice inside the high school before a teacher subdued him. No one was injured in the incident.

The teen has been charged with theft of a firearm, harassment, unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree, possession of a firearm on school grounds, and discharging a firearm or dangerous weapon.

The suspect’s criminal history includes three fourth-degree assault convictions from late 2014. According to King County court documents, he was arrested Oct. 14 after two female classmates at his former school reported that they had been groped by the teen on multiple occasions.

He was subsequently expelled from Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines and pleaded guilty to all three charges in November. He was sentenced to 30 days in a juvenile detention facility, two years of probation and 20 hours of community service and counseling.

A mental evaluation was conducted after the incident at North Thurston schoool and determined that the suspect did not qualify to be detained in a mental health facility.

Staff writer Amelia Dickson contributed to this report.