Boy accused of Frontier Middle School plot back in court

Mental health evaluation not complete

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

Updated: October 25, 2013, 12:20 PM

 

A sixth-grader accused of bringing a cache of weapons to Frontier Middle School in order to shoot a classmate will remain in custody until at least Tuesday.

Quincy J. Tuttle, 11, of Vancouver was back in court Friday, in front of Clark County Superior Court Commissioner Jennifer Snider, to decide the next steps in his case. Specifically, Snider was to decide whether he could be released to his parents as his case winds its way through the court system. She was unable to do so because a mental health evaluation was not yet complete.

Psychologist Shirley Shen met with the boy following his Wednesday arrest and testified that Tuttle has some “severe mental health issues.”

Probation officers have not yet had time to visit the family home to determine if it’s an appropriate placement. Home visits are a common practice in cases when there are concerns about community safety, said Eric Gilman, a Juvenile Court program manager. Shen also said she still needs to complete her written report. Psychologist Christine Krause also has been working on Tuttle’s case.

Shen said Tuttle poses a low risk to the community but she is concerned because he often wakes up in the middle of the night and walks the streets. If Tuttle is released, she wants alarms placed on his bedroom door and windows beforehand.

Rescheduling the review hearing provides time to complete those steps. The hearing is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday in Juvenile Court.

Deputy Prosecutor Rick Olson told Snider that he disagrees with Shen’s conclusion.

“The state sees this young man as a high risk, not a low risk, and we’ll present the reasons on Tuesday,” Olson said.

Tuttle spent Wednesday and Thursday nights in custody.

John Lutgens, Tuttle’s court-appointed attorney, met with him in a room outside the courtroom before Friday’s hearing.

“We want to protect the community, but also our client,” Lutgens said after the hearing. “I think the home environment is probably a better environment than the detention center.”

Lutgens said Tuttle has no prior criminal history, and he isn’t aware of him having any diagnosed mental health problems.

“That’s why we want to get the mental health evaluation done,” he said.

The boy, accused of bringing a handgun, 400 rounds of ammunition and kitchen knives to Frontier, said voices told him to shoot another student to prevent him from bullying a friend, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court.

Tuttle said the other student called his friend “gay.”

“He stated a voice told him killing (the student) was a good idea,” the affidavit says.

However, he told police he only planned to shoot the student in the arm and then shoot himself in the head, the court document says.

On Thursday, Court Commissioner Dayann Liebman found probable cause for charges of first-degree attempted assault, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a weapon at school.

The boy’s mother, Carla Tuttle, called the school around 9 a.m. Wednesday to report that she suspected her son had taken some kitchen knives to school. School resource officers contacted Quincy Tuttle and took him to the principal’s office. Officers found a .22-caliber handgun and two loaded .22-caliber magazines in his front pants pockets, according to the affidavit. More ammunition and kitchen knives were found in his backpack, police said.

All of the weapons came from his family’s home, police said. They will not say whether the gun was locked up or whether Tuttle’s parents are being investigated. However, a spokeswoman on Thursday said detectives don’t anticipate making additional arrests in the case.

The middle school, 7600 N.E. 166th Ave., and adjacent Pioneer Elementary School, 7212 N.E. 166th Ave., were locked down for about two hours, beginning at 9:20 a.m. Wednesday. No one was injured.

Tuttle has since been expelled from the middle school, according to Evergreen Public Schools. The middle school serves about 900 students in grades 6-8.

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