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Prosecutor: Teen bought gun online, friend helped build it

January 25, 2022 GMT
A policeman stands near the scene at Col. Zadok Magruder High School where authorities say a student was shot and a suspect was in custody, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in Rockville, Md. (Freddy Kunkle/The Washington Post via AP)
A policeman stands near the scene at Col. Zadok Magruder High School where authorities say a student was shot and a suspect was in custody, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in Rockville, Md. (Freddy Kunkle/The Washington Post via AP)
A policeman stands near the scene at Col. Zadok Magruder High School where authorities say a student was shot and a suspect was in custody, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in Rockville, Md. (Freddy Kunkle/The Washington Post via AP)
A policeman stands near the scene at Col. Zadok Magruder High School where authorities say a student was shot and a suspect was in custody, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in Rockville, Md. (Freddy Kunkle/The Washington Post via AP)
A policeman stands near the scene at Col. Zadok Magruder High School where authorities say a student was shot and a suspect was in custody, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in Rockville, Md. (Freddy Kunkle/The Washington Post via AP)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — The teen charged with shooting a fellow student at a Maryland high school last week told authorities he bought parts for the 9 mm ghost gun online and assembled it with a friend, a prosecutor said in court Monday.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office Juvenile Court Division Chief Carlotta Woodward told the judge at a bond hearing for Steven Alston Jr., 17, that the 15-year-old victim critically wounded in the shooting at Magruder High School on Friday is fighting for his life, news outlets reported.

Alston is charged as an adult with attempted second-degree murder, felony assault and weapons offenses. The judge ordered Alston held without bond Monday and granted a request that he be held at a juvenile facility.

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An 11th grader, Alston brought the gun to school because he knew there would be a conflict that day and went to a boys bathroom on Friday afternoon with the loaded gun in his waistband, Woodward said. Alston pointed it at the victim’s head and when the victim pushed the gun away, he was shot in the pelvis area, she said.

After the shooting, Alston went to a classroom with other students and was found with the magazine with nine bullets in his sock, Woodward said.

Later in the day, Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said, investigators learned learned that other students who had been in the bathroom tweeted about the shooting, identifying the suspect and the victim, instead of calling 911 or alerting staff that a classmate had been shot. The wounded student wasn’t found until a security sweep during the change in classes, he said.

Authorities identified the gun used as a ghost gun, an untraceable weapon that’s usually sold in pieces. Five such guns have been recovered at county schools this academic year, State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.

Citing Alston’s lack of criminal history, attorney Lucy Larkins asked the judge to allow the teen to be released to home detention so he could take classes virtually.

“I know he is committed to continuing his studies,” Larkins said. The judge denied the request.