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 has visited with the teenage boy accused of shooting a fellow Mattoon High School student, but reports on his condition haven't been submitted yet.

That was the report during a court hearing Thursday for the boy, who was an MHS freshman at the time of the Sept. 20 shooting in the school's cafeteria.

Another boy, who reportedly wasn't 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's recovering from his wounds.

One of the few other developments during Thursday's court session was the appearance of the boy's new attorney, Ed Piraino of Champaign. Piraino replaces Public Defender Anthony Ortega, who had been appointed to represent the teen.

Piraino told Circuit Judge Matt Sullivan that psychiatrist Lawrence Jeckel met with the boy but not to the extent needed to make his evaluations, which were ordered during an earlier hearing.

State's Attorney Brian Bower reported that there's been no indication yet from Jeckel on when the evaluations will be complete.

The evaluations 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's able to understand and help with his case.

The teenager appeared in court in custody of a juvenile detention facility, which was also ordered at the last hearing. On Thursday, Piraino said it appeared that it's still best for the boy to "stay where he is."

Bower also said subpoenas have been issued for records, which he didn't specifically identify, that Jeckel has indicated he wants to use in the evaluations.

Piraino also said he hasn't received police reports about the shooting, but Bower said he understands Mattoon police have completed more than 200 interviews and the reports should be ready soon.

Based on the time needed for the various records and the attorneys' schedules, Sullivan scheduled the boy's next hearing for Nov. 17.

The boy is charged in juvenile court 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.

According to information presented during the previous hearing and from authorities, the accused teen 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. Authorities haven't said how the boy was able to bring the gun inside the school.

DAVE FOPAY writes for the Journal Gazette-Times Courier in Mattoon, a Lee Enterprises sister publication of The Southern.

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