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Magruder HS teen sentenced to 18 years for shooting student in bathroom | #socialmedia | #children | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

A Montgomery County teenager who shot another student inside the boys bathroom at Magruder High School was sentenced to 18 years Thursday in a judgment designed to allow his earlier release from a youthful offender program if he does well behind bars.

Steven Alston Jr. had pleaded guilty last month to attempted first-degree murder in the shooting that nearly killed DeAndre Thomas, then 15, and sent the high school into lockdown on Jan. 21.

The shooting that terrified parents and students in the middle of the school day also raised concerns about the growing availability of ghost guns, which was used in the incident. Ghost guns can be put together with parts ordered online and without a permit.

Alston’s attorney David Felsen has said in prior hearings that his client felt threatened by Thomas and others and brought the gun to school for protection.

In earlier court proceedings, prosecutors played recordings from interviews indicating that the teens had been in fistfights months before the shooting and agreed to meet on Jan. 21 for what Thomas said he believed would be another fistfight. That’s when Alston walked in, pulled out the gun and fired, according to authorities.

Students in the bathroom scattered out, making commotion in the hallway that a school security officer noticed, prosecutors said. He went into the bathroom and found Thomas.

The victim had a lengthy stay in the hospital and has undergone multiple operations, according to hearing testimony.

In an earlier interview, Thomas’s mother, Karen, had spoken about the case. “I was totally scared,” she said. “I thought I was going to lose my baby.”

Thomas’s family has sued the school board and the county, alleging that officials deprived Thomas “of his right to a reasonably safe and secure public education” and did not take any action to curb earlier rising reports of violence on school grounds.

Alston was prosecuted in adult court but as part of his plea agreement, prosecutors recommended placement in a youth offender program at the Patuxent Institution.

Following the shooting, Alston concealed his gun and left the bathroom undetected to a another area of the school. When the lockdown was called, a teacher helped pull him into a classroom, where he stayed for about two hours as police worked to identify the shooter.

After an assistant principal working noticed a social media post that said, “Steven shot ’Dre,” investigators burst into the classroom Alston had ducked into.

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