Teen in Ohio school shooting cited bad home life

Associated Press

Hamilton, Ohio — A 15-year-old Ohio boy who opened fire on fellow students in a school cafeteria complained about his home life when questioned about why he did it, a detective states in a report released Friday.

James Austin Hancock pleaded guilty to four attempted murder counts and one of inducing panic in the February shooting at Madison Local Schools near Middletown. A judge earlier this month ordered him held in juvenile detention until he turns 21, when he will be free if he stays out of trouble.

The youth’s motive hasn’t been clear. He said before sentencing that he wanted the victims to know they weren’t targeted.

In a Butler County sheriff’s report released after a public records request by The Associated Press and other news organizations, a detective says Hancock gave his “home life” as the reason for the shootings.

“His mom doesn’t watch any of his sporting events and dad was on his case for his grades and he has a lot of chores. Hancock further stated he was always grounded,” the report by Detective Michael Barger said. The report said a female student was going to report that Hancock had a gun in his backpack, and he started shooting because “he knew he didn’t want to go home.”

A message was left Friday for his attorney, Charles H. Rittgers. Rittgers said on the day of sentencing that Hancock’s family was happy the case was handled in the juvenile system and was hopeful he could get any help he needs while in custody.

Barger said Hancock didn’t have a specific target, but “just fired at a group of kids.” Two students were wounded by gunfire; two others were hurt by shrapnel or while running away.

Two other students still face misdemeanor charges of not reporting a crime. Authorities said they knew Hancock brought a gun to school.