13-year-old charged in pellet-gun shootings

September 8, 2018 GMT

A 13-year-old boy is set to stand trial Sept. 21, accused of shooting a man with an air rifle from the 10th-floor window of a downtown apartment high-rise Aug. 14.

William Scott Hogan, named in an affidavit filed Aug. 29 in Allen Superior Court, was charged with battery by means of a deadly weapon, a level 5 felony, and criminal recklessness, a level 6 felony. The two felonies are described as adult crimes, though Hogan is charged as a juvenile.

Depending on how Magistrate Daniel G. Pappas rules, Hogan, who apparently was with his 17-year-old brother at the time of the shooting, could face detention, according to the affidavit.

The victim, Bobby Dellarocco, a Sweetwater employee, was standing outside Henry’s about 7 p.m. Aug. 14 when he was struck by a pellet and immediately fell to the ground.

Dellarocco was struck in the right side of the head, but the pellet apparently did not penetrate the bone. Friends rushed Dellarocco to St. Joseph Hospital about a block away, a police report said.

Another victim, an unnamed woman, was struck similarly about 6 p.m. Aug. 9 in front of SCAN, a building separated from Henry’s by a parking lot. Her injury was documented in a police report, but she was not named in the affidavit. The victim’s sister rushed her to the hospital. She was bleeding heavily from the bridge area of her nose and inside her nose, the report said. 

Dellarocco said he thought he’d been hit by a baseball bat, but a friend who witnessed the attack said he looked up to see two young males in the northeast window of the 10th floor of West Berry Apartments.

The view from the apartment to Henry’s and SCAN on West Main Street is unobstructed and less than the distance of a football field.

In the affidavit, Hogan is identified as the son of Chad S. Hogan, the tenant at West Berry Apartments, according to Eric Fisher, president of Midtowne Realty, the building’s owner. Chad Hogan has legal custody of his son, the affidavit said.

Fisher said he has talked to Chad Hogan several times besides speaking to law enforcement.

He is deciding how to handle the lease since he doesn’t believe Hogan was there at the time of the shooting and Hogan is a veteran.

“He was having a medical emergency, and he was not in town when all of this was taking place,” Fisher said. “We’re trying to find out what the responsible landlord does in this situation. I often would evict people for lesser (acts but I) can’t put the finger on anything negligent he did.”

The son was not a permanent resident at his father’s apartment but was visiting at the time, he said.

“If we feel a tenant is a threat to anyone, we have some tools at our disposal to keep the building safe,” Fisher added. When the shooting was first made public, Fisher told The Journal Gazette that Midtowne Realty had 32 cameras set up on the premises.

Dellarocco’s mother, Kathleen Dellarocco, who lives in Boston, said neither she nor her son would be able to discuss the case until it’s resolved.

The trial will start at 9 a.m. at the Allen County Juvenile Center, according to the Allen County prosecutor’s office.