3 juveniles to be charged as adults in Howell skate park attack

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Three juveniles accused of befriending a boy to deliberately attack him at a Howell skate park last month are being charged as adults, an official with the Livingston County Prosecutor's Office said Monday.

The three suspects are being charged with assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, a 10-year felony, Carolyn Henry, the county's chief assistant prosecutor, said in a statement.

Police said the alleged attack happened on Aug. 31 at the Howell Skate Park. The park is located near Grand River Avenue and North Highlander Way as well as near Highlander Way Middle School and the Howell High School Freshman Campus.

According to a preliminary investigation conducted by Howell police and officials with Howell Public Schools, the three suspects acted as though they were befriending the 16-year-old boy, who was new to the school district and is on the autism spectrum. They allegedly spent time with the boy at school and during lunch, investigators said.

Police said the suspects encouraged the boy to join them after school at the skate park. At the park, they allegedly got the boy to go to the rear of the park's bathroom area, which is not visible from the school bus area or the freshman campus.

Once there and out of sight of others, two of the suspects allegedly attacked the boy, pushing him to the ground and then punching and kicking him multiple times, authorities said. The third suspect is accused of video recording the attack and posting it on social media.

"The investigation revealed that this attack was unprovoked by the victim and was planned by the defendants," Henry's statement said.

Her statement also said the names of the defendants will not be revealed until they are formally charged in court. It also said the prosecutor's office is making no further statements about the allegations.

In a statement Monday, Erin MacGregor, superintendent for the Howell Public School District, said she was "incredibly saddened by this incident."

"My heart goes out to the victim and his family. As a school and a district, we do not tolerate this type of behavior," MacGregor said. "The school has started the discipline process per the district’s student handbook, and we have worked with law enforcement every step of the way."

Meanwhile, anyone with information about the alleged attack should call the Howell Police at (517) 546- 1330.

Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez