The 14-year-old boy accused of shooting a fellow teen during a party in Colstrip last December has been charged in youth court.
For one count of criminal endangerment, the boy faces a maximum penalty of commitment to the Department of Corrections until age 18, according to court documents from Rosebud County Youth Court.
The Billings Gazette generally does not name juveniles charged with crimes.
The 16-year-old boy who was shot with an AR-15 on the evening of Dec. 14 at a private home in Colstrip was transported from a clinic in Colstrip to St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings.
He was shot in the shoulder and chest area, breaking his clavicle and requiring surgery to remove bullet fragments, the boy’s mother has previously told The Billings Gazette.
The teens had been drinking and smoking marijuana at one of the boy’s parents’ home that evening, according to charges. A total of four teen boys were in attendance, but the 14-year-old accused in the shooting had left by the time police arrived, according to charges.
When police arrived, the 16-year-old was sitting in a recliner and another boy was applying toilet paper to his shoulder wound, charges state.
The three remaining teens initially told police the rifle had been leaning against a wall when it slipped and discharged, hitting the 16-year-old.
But after a social media picture surfaced showing that the 14-year-old boy had been present as well, the 14-year-old confessed to holding the rifle and pulling the trigger, charges state. He said he did not intent to shoot or hurt the other boy.
Colstrip Police Chief Cory Hert said in January his department’s investigation determined that the shooting was accidental.
“We were able to determine that one of the juveniles in the home, unaware that the weapon was loaded, pulled the trigger,” Hert said.