School shooting suspect pleads not guilty

Posted at 1:41 PM, Mar 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-25 21:13:13-04

HAMILTON, Ohio – James Austin Hancock, the Madison Jr./Sr. High School student accused of shooting two classmates, pleaded not guilty in Butler County Juvenile Court Friday.

Hancock, 14, opened fire in the school cafeteria Feb. 29, hitting two students and injuring two others, deputies previously said.

Earlier this month, a grand jury indicted Hancock on four counts of attempted murder, four counts of felonious assault and inducing panic as a serious juvenile offender. The special classification means that, if convicted, Hancock could serve out a sentence in adult prison, rather than juvenile, after he turns 21.

Hancock had previously denied the charges.

According to Sheriff Richard Jones, Hancock got the 380 caliber semiautomatic handgun from a family member.The eighth-grader showed it to two 14-year-old classmates early in the day. Then, at about 11:18 a.m., Hancock shot the two victims, ages 14 and 15, in the cafeteria. As a school resource officer was running toward the scene, Hancock ran outside and ditched the gun. Deputies located him outside on the school by 11:30 a.m. and found the gun shortly after.

None of the four teens' injuries were life-threatening. School officials previously said they were doing well.

Hancock is scheduled to next appear in court for a pre-trial hearing April 5.

Check back with WCPO for more details.