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11-year-old accused of shooting 2 at Apopka football practice sobs in court; lawyer says he was bullied

By Dave McDaniel

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    APOPKA, Florida (WESH) — The 11-year-old boy accused of shooting two 13-year-olds after a football practice in Apopka appeared in court on Wednesday.

“He is traumatized; this is going to change his life,” the child’s defense attorney, Robert Mandell, said.

Mandell asked for his release to his grandparents, saying the 11-year-old already deals with emotional issues requiring counseling and that older boys were bullying him in the rec center parking lot.

“You can count more than six people running after him after they attacked him,” Mandell said.

The arrest report says that just before the 11-year-old grabbed his mom’s gun from under the front seat of her car, others were “hitting and chasing the shooter, just prior to the shooting” and that he “fired a single shot at the back of victim 1.”

The state said his actions that night should keep him in detention.

“This is life-changing to my victim who is in the hospital, with extensive injuries that will alter his life forever, based on the actions of that child,” Assistant State Attorney Shannon Corack told the judge.

“I’m not angry with you. I have love for you,” Shauna Simon said.

The aunt of the hospitalized 13-year-old first showed empathy for the arrested boy, then included an update on her loved one.

“My nephew is fighting for his life; he has had life-altering changes that he’ll have to deal with for the rest of his life; he may not even be able to play sports,” Simon said.

And she added her nephew’s thoughts on any release of the alleged shooter.

“He needs to start learning accountability right now. My nephew thinks he’d get out and do it again with the same carelessness that he did that day,” Simon said.

The arrest report suggests the “shooter did not have to re-engage with victim 1 due to victim 1 walking away and appearing to be no longer a threat.”

The state urged the judge to keep him detained.

“He needs to remain in secure detention for the security of the community, for the victim,” Corack said.

The judge agreed despite the defense urging release.

“There has to be a better way to address this than throwing children in jail,” Mandell said.

The 13-year-old grazed by the bullet has been released from the hospital.

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