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Teen apprehended in shooting that injured toddler

A 14-year-old has been arrested in connection with a shooting incident that left a 2-year-old toddler seriously injured. Local authorities say the alleged juvenile criminal was arrested by the police department's gang squad on Nov. 9 after he was found near 23rd Street and Oakley Avenue.

An initial investigation has identified the teen as the perpetrator of a shooting during the early morning hours of Nov. 9. The boy reportedly fired a gun at the house on Topping Avenue, striking the 2-year-old victim in the back. The toddler had been sitting in the house's living room, watching television with his family members, when the incident occurred.

The boy's stomach, liver and spleen were injured in the shooting, and he required surgery to repair the organ damage. The child's condition is improving, but he remains hospitalized because of the severity of his injuries.

Family members of the victim say they are attempting to find a new place to live. This is the second shooting their house has sustained in just the past year. The previous shooting occurred when a local youth accosted the family's 16-year-old daughter on the front porch. Authorities arrested a perpetrator in that case, but no one was harmed. Family members say they suspect the most recent shooting was retaliation for the legal action taken against the shooter in the first case.

Media reports have not released information about the 14-year-old suspect's criminal background. Since he is a juvenile, he will be treated differently during courtroom proceedings, but previous criminal convictions may influence the applied sentencing guidelines. The young man did not commit murder, so he will not be eligible for capital charges that could allow him to be tried as an adult.

A significant amount of evidence has been unearthed that implicates the boy in the shooting, including his possession of the gun used to commit the crime. The boy may choose to plead guilty in order to strike a plea bargain with juvenile prosecutors.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Teen arrested in shooting of 2-year-old Kansas City boy," Christine Vendel, Nov. 14, 2012

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