Youth held in shooting of 13-year-old girl could be tried as adult

Youth held in shooting of 13-year-old girl could be tried as adult

March 21st, 2012 by Beth Burger in News

Selbria Rhodes becomes emotional while speaking to Officer Nathan Hartwig outside of the Chattanooga Police Services Center about neighborhood friend Keoshia Ford, 13, who was shot in the head and chest two days ago. The shooting happened a block from her home Saturday evening shortly after an unrelated block party that she was hosting was shut down by police, according to Rhodes. Rhodes is a close friend with the grandmother of the shooting victim.

Selbria Rhodes becomes emotional while speaking to Officer...

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

A 17-year-old male charged in connection with the shooting of a 13-year-old girl could be tried as an adult, authorities say.

It's possible the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office will try the teen as an adult after reviewing the case and the teen's prior record, said Antinio Petty, court director for Hamilton County Juvenile Court.

The teen, whose name has not been released because he is a juvenile, faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, felony reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Petty, who said he couldn't comment on details of the case, said motions to transfer cases from Juvenile Court to adult court must be filed by prosecutors at least three days before trial. A judge then decides.

He said one question to answer when making the decision to try a juvenile as an adult is: "Do they feel this child can be rehabilitated through the Juvenile Court system or [should be] tried as an adult?"

As of late Tuesday, prosecutors had not filed a motion to transfer the case.

Chattanooga police arrested the 17-year-old Monday night after the gang-related shooting on Saturday that left Keoshia Ford, 13, in critical condition at T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital.

Keoshia was outside on Bennett Avenue with a friend when a bullet struck her in the back of the head, according to police.

Before she was shot, gang signs had been flashed between a group in a car and people attending a party near the 2100 block of 12th Street, behind Bennett Avenue, police said. Two cars circled the area and shots rang out from one of the vehicles, but no one was hit.

Keoshia was struck by a stray bullet after at least one person left 12th Street and ran down an alley to shoot at one of the vehicles, police said.

The shooting marks the 22nd shooting of the year in the city. At the same time last year, there had been 16 shootings resulting in death or injury, according to archives.