Mattoon Shooting

A Mattoon High School student watches as police and other officials discuss their response to a shooting at the school on Sept. 20.

DAVE FOPAY, The Southern News Services

CHARLESTON — A psychiatrist now has the records needed to complete a mental health evaluation for the teenage boy accused of shooting a fellow Mattoon High School student at school on Sept. 20.

A hearing was held Friday morning in Coles County Circuit Court to address subpoenas for records regarding the accused teenager, Josiah Lyons. Psychiatrist Lawrence Jeckel had requested these records for his mental health evaluation of Lyons. The evaluation will address the possibility of insanity at the time of the incident, whether the boy is a risk to himself or others, and if he is able to understand and help with his case.

Now that these records have been made available to Jeckel via court order, the hearing for Lyons has been continued to Jan. 11 to give the psychiatrist time to complete his evaluation. State's Attorney Brian Bower and Lyons' attorney, Ed Piraino of Champaign, agreed to this court date on Friday during a hearing before Circuit Judge Matt Sullivan, who is presiding over the case.

Piraino told the judge that he has received a hard drive containing police reports about the shooting and that he still needs to go through these reports in advance of the Jan. 11 hearing. Mattoon police officers completed more than 200 interviews with MHS students, staff and others as part of these reports.

Lyons, 14, was an MHS freshman at the time of the Sept. 20 shooting in the school's cafeteria. Another boy, who reportedly was not the actual target, was shot during the incident before the shooter was subdued, according to authorities' accounts. The boy was hit in the upper chest, but accounts indicate that he is recovering from his wounds.

In juvenile court, Lyons is charged with aggravated battery with a firearm. It's a felony offense that could lead to his being held in the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice until the age of 21. On Friday, Lyons appeared in court while in custody of a juvenile detention facility. He was returned to this facility following the hearing.

According to information presented during a previous hearing and from authorities, Lyons allegedly started to aim the gun at a girl but MHS teacher Angie McQueen grabbed him by the arm and the shot hit the other student instead. More shots were fired into the cafeteria's ceiling before McQueen and Mattoon police school resource officer Kasey Alexander subdued the boy, according to the accounts.

Some sources have indicated that bullying might have been the motivation for the shooting, but authorities have not released information regarding any possible motive. Authorities have not said how the boy was able to bring the gun inside the school.

The suspect is a juvenile, but The Southern has opted at this time to use his name, as his identity has been widely disseminated and already made public.

ROB STROUD writes for the (Mattoon) Journal Gazette-Times Courier, a Lee Enterprises sister publication of The Southern.

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