Twelve-year-old Quincy Tuttle was sentenced Thursday to two years in a juvenile detention facility for attempting to assault two boys Oct. 23 when he brought a handgun and ammunition to Vancouver’s Frontier Middle School.
In an agreement with prosecutors, Tuttle pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of first-degree attempted assault and one count each of theft of a firearm, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and possessing a dangerous weapon on school facilities. In exchange, Deputy Prosecutor Abbie Bartlett dismissed a charge of first-degree attempted murder.
Superior Court Judge Scott Collier also sentenced Tuttle to serve two years of probation and 40 hours of community service and to pay restitution, which may include the cost of counseling for the two victims.
Tuttle apologized Thursday for his actions, saying he wants to believe he wouldn’t have carried out his plan to shoot the two boys, who, along with Tuttle, were students at the school.
Tuttle said, in a statement read by his attorney, John Lutgens, that he was in a “very dark and angry place” at the time of the incident and has been working on his anger issues with counselors in the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center.
Tuttle has been in custody since his arrest in October.
Collier said Thursday that Tuttle’s actions had brought the nation’s spate of school-related gun incidents close to home.
“It’s easy when it’s an elementary school across the nation,” Collier said. “You brought it home to this community. … That takes a long time, if ever, to recover from.”
Tuttle’s original statement was that he planned to shoot a student who may have bullied his friend by calling him “gay,” Bartlett said Thursday.
“What we have since learned is that Quincy called the two victims names,” Bartlett said.
She said one of the victims even filed a complaint at school about the name-calling before the gun incident.
Tuttle brought his parents’ .22-caliber handgun and ammunition to the school, where he was a sixth-grader.
He was arrested Oct. 23 after his mother called the school to report that her kitchen knives were missing. Tuttle had recently been having behavioral problems, and the family had sought mental health treatment for him, Lutgens said. School officials found the handgun, ammunition and the kitchen knives in Tuttle’s pants pockets and backpack, court records said.
“We find it hard not to think about what could have been that day,” said the mother of one of the boys Tuttle planned to shoot. She spoke Thursday in court just before Tuttle was sentenced.
The parents of the other victim said their son has been fearful since the incident and sees a therapist.
Lutgens said that he and Bartlett had been negotiating the plea deal since December.
Bartlett said the agreement holds Tuttle accountable for his conduct, meets his needs for treatment and rehabilitation and “sends a message to other youth in our community.”
Collier said Thursday that Tuttle’s case illustrates the need for proper gun safety measures, particularly by those who choose to keep guns in their homes.
“We see all too often this kind of event happening in our community,” Collier said. “Something has to be done. This case further highlights that.”