Hearing delayed for Vancouver boy accused of bringing gun to school

Frontier Middle School student's age at issue

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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A competency hearing for a boy accused of bringing a gun and 400 rounds of ammunition Oct. 23 to Vancouver's Frontier Middle School has been rescheduled for Dec. 11.

Attorneys disagree about whether 12-year-old Quincy Tuttle, a student at the school, is competent to understand court proceedings and assist with his defense. A psychologist for the defense wasn't available to testify today, prompting the delay.

Tuttle's attorney, John Lutgens, said he believes the boy's age prevents him from understanding the complexity of the judicial system. Tuttle was 11 at the time of the alleged crime.

A judge or court commissioner will hear testimony Dec. 11 from the attorneys and a defense psychologist from Vancouver Guidance Clinic about Tuttle's ability to understand the court proceedings. The judicial officer could decide to charge Tuttle on the spot or take the arguments under advisement, Lutgens said.

For now, he remains in custody.

Tuttle will only be charged if found competent. He faces charges of attempted murder and other weapons-related crimes.

He apologized today to Court Commissioner Jennifer Snider for an outburst in court Oct. 29, when he erupted in a fit of cursing and refused to leave the courtroom after he was ordered to remain in custody.

The case against Tuttle drew national media attention Oct. 23, when he brought the handgun, ammunition and kitchen knives to the school, according to court documents. Police said he planned to shoot another student who had called his friend "gay," according to an initial probable cause affidavit filed in court. But revised court documents revealed that Tuttle may have wanted to shoot two students.

Tuttle has been in custody since Oct. 23, when police officers found a .22-caliber handgun and two loaded .22-caliber magazines in his front pants pocket, court documents state. Police said they found 463 rounds of ammunition, six large kitchen knives, a steak knife and a pair of two-way radios in his backpack.