Italy family considering litigation after school shooting

Italy school shooting: Students say suspect had violent past

ITALY, Texas —A family who warned Italy Independent School District officials about Monday’s shooting suspect is considering a lawsuit against the district, WFAA learned Tuesday night.

The shooting happened at Italy High School Monday morning. According to investigators, a 16-year-old student entered the school’s cafeteria and shot 15-year-old Noelle Jones.

The suspect isn’t being named by police because he’s a minor. Right now, he’s facing two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

During a hearing on Wednesday, it was revealed that he shot at Jones six times before firing a shot that barely missed the head of a 15-year-old male student. The suspect, dressed in a long black trench coat, then angrily stomped and waved his arms around the girl, who had fallen on the ground, officials said.

It was decided Wednesday that he is a danger to himself and others, and doesn't have adequate supervision at home, so he will remain in police custody. Prosecutors have ordered a psychological evaluation, and his next hearing is set for Feb. 7.

On Tuesday night, WFAA spoke with two Italy High School students who weren’t surprised the shooting happened.

According to 16-year-olds Cassie Shook and Hannah Haight, there were multiple incidents where the district should have stepped in to help the troubled suspect.

“Nobody was oblivious to the situation,” Haight said.

“I just want people to know that there was no effort, and this wasn’t just random,” Shook added.

After the shooting, Shook posted to Facebook that the suspect crafted a “hit list” when she was in eighth grade. She told WFAA that her name was on it, too.

“That was maybe the first time I realized that something’s not quite right,” Shook said. “Whenever the school found out about it, it just kind of went away.”

The post, that now has over 20,000 shares, also talks about an incident involving Haight.

In 2016, Haight said the suspect had an outburst in her class about a Spanish project and threw a pair of scissors that nearly struck her.

“I was just standing there, and I couldn’t react,” Haight said. “My friend pushed me out of the way.”

Haight’s mom reported that incident to Italy ISD.

In an e-mail sent on December 14, 2016, she told Principal Eric Janszen that “this is very serious” and that “scissors could kill them.”

According to Haight, the district didn’t do enough to help the suspect and only sent him to an alternative school for a short time.

“We were all scared for him to come back to school,” Haight said. “We were all in fear of what would happen next.”

Members of the media tried to confirm those allegations and the district’s response during a press conference Tuesday, but Italy ISD Superintendent Lee Joffre didn’t go into any details. 

“The law prohibits a school district from speaking specifically about student discipline,” he said.

Over the phone, Haight’s mother said that she is speaking with attorneys and is considering litigation against the school.

© 2018 WFAA-TV


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