Records outline detention plans for Idaho school shooter
RIGBY, Idaho (AP) — A 12-year-old girl who shot three people at an eastern Idaho junior high school last year will remain in juvenile detention until her 19th birthday or until a review board deems her rehabilitated, according to newly released court documents.
The girl was charged with three counts of attempted murder after she shot two students and a custodian at Rigby Middle School on May 6, 2021, EastIdahoNews.com reported. All three victims have recovered from their gunshot wounds.
Though the school shooting was widely reported, the details about the subsequent charges and outcome of the case remained sealed for months.
EastIdahoNews.com filed a public records lawsuit seeking access to the investigative documents, and in April a judge ordered that they be released. Last week, Magistrate Judge Stephen J. Clark ordered the release of some of the court documents as well, noting the shooting was an “exceptional event.”
“To state the obvious, the public has a right to access information concerning an exceptional event,” Clark wrote.
The court documents show the girl pleaded guilty to all three charges as part of an agreement with prosecutors. She was committed to the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections until her 19th birthday or until the Custody Review Board deems her rehabilitated. If the board does not believe she is rehabilitated by her 19th birthday, she could be held by the juvenile corrections department until she turns 21.
Once released from juvenile detention, she will be on probation for three years.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Mark Taylor said he considered charging the girl as an adult but decided to keep the case in juvenile court because the sentencing time would be similar either way.
“Juvenile correction is all about rehabilitation and helping these people get what they need in order to no longer be a threat to themselves or society,” Taylor said. “Knowing that she was going to get out of jail while still a young adult, regardless of the court, it became very clear that the juvenile system was where we needed to stay.”
Police were called to the middle school about 95 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Yellowstone National Park about 9:15 a.m. on a sunny May morning last year.
Investigative documents reveal most teachers and students didn’t recognize the sound of the first gunshot, but by the second and third shots realized the school was under attack. One teacher, Krista Gneiting, directed her students to flee the building after hearing the first gunshot, before the school initiated a lockdown.
The armed girl apparently followed them out of the building, shooting one boy in the thigh and hand, possibly by the same bullet.
Gneiting spotted the shooter and approached her, taking away the gun and hugging the child until police arrived.
Closed-circuit video showed the girl, dressed mostly in black and wearing a black surgical mask, spent the morning wandering the hallways. She stopped into a classroom for a time and then briefly went to the counselor’s office, having a seemingly normal interaction with staffers.
Then she went into a bathroom and took a semi-automatic pistol from her backpack, according to the law enforcement investigation documents.
The school custodian was the first person shot, hit in the leg. The second was a girl who was leaving a nearby bathroom and was shot in the elbow as she ran away.