Family of Albemarle High School shooting victim hires prominent Charlotte attorney

Shooting victim from Albemarle remains in hospital

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The family of Albemarle High School student who was shot Tuesday, hired an attorney Friday.

Charlotte Attorney Ken Harris, who will be representing the family of Bernard Miller, said the family hired him because "there is a lot of speculation out there about what exactly happened. Obviously at an early stage like this you want to start gathering the facts to determine whether there are potential liabilities out there."

Harris said the 16-year-old is still in serious condition.

"I can't discuss specific issues about his medical situation but I can tell you his injuries were profound," Attorney Harris said. "And his prognosis even now remains very uncertain so this is a very tragic circumstance. He faces a very long road in terms of his potential recovery."

Miller's relatives are maintaining a hospital vigil, while trying to stay on top of the investigation.

Albemarle Police say Miller was shot by a fellow student - Jalen Russell - outside Albemarle High School. The two apparently had a confrontation sometime before - that escalated to the shooting.

The victim's family wants to know how the shooting could have happened.

"So that's what we're going to be looking at - whether or not there are facts or circumstances that warrant an investigation concerning potential civil liabilities against the municipality or school system. There are some allegations that there was a prior incident involving Jalen Russell at another school," Harris said.

Last October at West Montgomery High School, Jalen Russell allegedly stabbed another student. A family friend told WBTV Russell was defending himself against a student who had been bullying him.
The family of Tuesday's school shooting victim wants to know more about that incident.

"We want to know the facts and circumstances surrounding that incident, and whether or not that incident shed some light on any protective measures the school system or the municipality should have taken to protect students at Albemarle High School," Harris told WBTV during an interview.

Jalen Russell's supporters say he opened fire because he was being bullied - again. They say he was tired of it, and was afraid because he had received threatening text messages.

WBTV asked Harris about allegations that his client was bullying his accused shooter.

"The investigators have not confirmed that set of facts to Bernard's family at this point. So we would be interested in learning exactly what the allegations are concerning that," Harris said. "Bernard has not been able to provide a full set of facts from his perspective at this point because of his medical situation. So I think it will take some time before the authorities develop a full set of facts concerning this situation."

Russell faces charges of attempted murder, and assault and battery. The District Attorney will decide if he's charged as an adult or a juvenile.

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