15-year-old charged as adult appears in court for school shooting

Fifteen-year-old Jalen Russell appeared by video monitor Monday in a Stanly County courtroom, charged with a shooting that wounded one of his classmates last year at Albemarle High School.

It was Russell's first appearance charged as an adult. Previously, his case was being handled in the juvenile courts.

It was the District Attorney's decision to try and prosecute Russell as an adult. His case will no longer be shielded by the privacy allowed juvenile cases, which means the facts will become part of the public record.

The family of Bernard Miller, who is the shooting victim, is considering a lawsuit against Stanly County Schools.

Police say Russell shot Miller twice, dropped the gun, and went inside the school to surrender last September. Officials said the two had a prior confrontation.

Attorney Ken Harris, who represents Miller, says they are trying to gather evidence about how much the school district knew about Russell's violent past and how the district assessed whether Russell should be part of the general student population.

Russell was charged a year prior with stabbing another student at West Montgomery High School in another county. He eventually transferred to Albemarle High School.

“This was a very serious incident in Montgomery County. It was a stabbing of another student, allegedly. He's in another school system less than a year later,” said Harris.

Harris says Miller is out of the hospital and has a long road toward recovery. Supporters of Russell said he was bullied and threatened before the shooting.

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