Charges In Tenn. School Shooting

Signs and flowers decorate the fence in honor of three shooting victims as a car enters the front gate at Campbell County High School in Jacksboro, Tenn., Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005.
A 15-year-old boy charged with a school shooting in which an assistant principal died and two other school officials were wounded should be tried as an adult, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

District Attorney Paul Phillips said a juvenile court judge from outside Campbell County, where the shooting occurred Tuesday, will be asked to rule on whether the case against Ken Bartley Jr. should be transferred to circuit court.

"It is appropriate that he be tried as an adult and subject to adult penalties," Phillips said.

Investigators were interviewing hundreds of witnesses and hoped to talk to the two wounded men during the afternoon, he said.

Phillips also said that Bartley is being charged with "a number of delinquent acts," including first-degree murder.

Principal Gary Seale was shot in the abdomen while trying to wrestle the gun from the student and Assistant Principal Jim Pierce was hit in the chest, authorities said. Both were in serious condition in intensive care at University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, spokeswoman Lisa McNeal said.

Authorities in Jacksboro, Tenn., say that the student walked into the school cafeteria around 2 p.m., hiding a .22-calibre handgun under a napkin, then allegedly opened fire. The administrators and a teacher helped wrestle the gun away from the 15-year-old student, deputies said. Assistant Principal Ken Bruce was shot in the chest and died at a LaFollette hospital, authorities said.

"This situation could have gotten much worse," said Mark Wells, vice chairman of the Campbell County Board of Education. "It did not because our staff followed the (emergency) plan in place."

No students were hurt in the shooting at Campbell County Comprehensive High School.

The administrators and a teacher helped disarm the student, deputies said. Assistant Principal Ken Bruce was shot in the chest and died at a LaFollette hospital, authorities said.

Despite his injury, Seale managed to get to the intercom and order a lockdown, helping to end the rampage, authorities said.

His clothes stained with blood, the accused student was eventually taken into custody, CBS News correspondent Jim Acosta reports for The Early Show. But other Campbell students were left to speculate why a 15-year-old would unleash so much destruction.

"It's kind of shocking cause it's someone you know — he's always been the kid that wanted attention," a student


Phillips said Bartley acted alone and got the .22-caliber handgun used in the shooting from his home.

"No one else is criminally responsible," the prosecutor said.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for