published Friday, December 10th, 2010

Bus-stop suspects may be tried as adults

The district attorney's office has filed petitions to transfer three teen suspects in the Tuesday bus stop shooting on Through Street from Juvenile Court to Criminal Court because of the severity of the acts, records show.

Lonta Burress, 16, and two 17-year-olds -- one male, one female -- each have been charged with three counts of aggravated assault, one count of felony possession of a firearm while committing a dangerous felony and one count of evading arrest.

Police said someone in a stolen red Ford F-150 truck fired six to 10 shots from two .38-caliber revolvers at students standing at the 3210 Through St. bus stop about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. No one was injured.

Police saw the truck and chased it until it hit another vehicle and a utility pole. The driver and the male juvenile were arrested. The female turned herself in Wednesday night.

Detention hearings for the teens were held Wednesday and Thursday in Juvenile Court, but no future court dates were scheduled as of Thursday afternoon.

Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd said Wednesday that more charges may be added, which would allow Juvenile Court to release more information.

Burress and two adults were charged earlier this year in connection with the March 27 Coolidge Park shooting that injured five people, District Attorney Bill Cox said.

Burress faced five counts of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault and one count of felony reckless endangerment in that shooting.

Cox said charges were dropped in that case because the sole witness to the shooting wouldn't testify against Burress at a July hearing.

"It's always frustrating when people change their testimony or are unwilling to come forward and testify to something that could help keep the community safe," he said.

But because that case never went to trial, it can be reopened and there may be new evidence, Cox said.

The others charged in the Coolidge Park shooting -- Anthony Frieson, 18, and Taurean Patillo, 19 -- are scheduled to appear before Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman today, according to court records.

Both face five counts of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and reckless aggravated assault, one count of reckless endangerment and one count of employment of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony.

Danielle Clark, spokeswoman for Hamilton County Schools, confirmed that Burress attends Washington Alternative School and the two 17-year-olds dropped out of Tyner Academy before the fall break.

Dodd said the shooters targeted two students on the bus.

A school security officer was at the Through Street bus stop Wednesday along with Chattanooga police.

"We take care of our kids in our buildings and in our buses," Clark said. "We can't control what's happening in the neighborhoods."

Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfree or 423-757-6347.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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ChasV said...

The idea of trying these kids as adults is evidence of a digusting legal hypocrisy in many many areas of the country. Food for thought: If these kids had had sex with an adult, oh my, they would just be mere children, so throw the book at the adult! But commit certain crimes, then Ta Da! they suddenly morph into adults. The violence suggested by indian boggles the mind.

December 10, 2010 at 2:10 p.m.
ChasV said...

indian - I'm most definitely not saying they should just be given a harsh lecture, told never to let that happen again, and then shown the door. They are JUVENILES, and should be tried and sentenced in the JUVENILE legal system.

December 11, 2010 at 2:47 p.m.
rrrccc said...

What boggles the mind is that any child getting off a bus should be terrorized by the threat of GUNFIRE! Would you be saying the same thing if they had murdered one of the children who were exiting the bus? There is nothing accidental about picking up a gun, getting in a car and shooting it off near a bus of STUDENTS. If you don't want to hold them responsible then how about their parents who obviously didn't know their darlings were once again out with a gun terrorizing others (one of them was involved in the Coolidge Park shootings) but since that child was only 16, was set free to act again because of being a "juvenile". This wasn't a fist fight after school, it was SHOOTING.

December 12, 2010 at 8:19 p.m.
ChasV said...

Hmm... rrrccc, I think you may be talking to me. If so, you've not read my comments carefully. Again, I'm not saying these kids should only be yelled at and shown the door, but just that they should be considered as juveniles, which is what they are - and, as I first said, would be in the eyes of the law if they had had sex with an adult, rather than commit this crime. (And yes, it is a crime.) Also, if they had killed any children on the bus, it would still be a crime, and they would still be JUVENILES. Furthermore, if the juvenile legal system is incapable of handling something of this seriousness, then the system is in bad need of some extensive overhauling. Note to indian: it's 'capital' punishment. 'Capitol' punishment is what conservatives are inflicting on the government in Washington.

December 13, 2010 at 1:35 p.m.
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