16-year-old to be tried as an adult in Italy school shooting

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WAXAHCHIE – A 16-year-old will stand trial as an adult on two charges of aggravated assault in the Jan. 22 shooting in the cafeteria of Italy High School, state District Judge Cindy Ermatinger ruled last Tuesday.  

Chad Anthony Padilla has been charged with shooting 15-year-old Noelle Jones with a .38-caliber handgun several times in the cafeteria before chasing Jones outside the school, according to reports.

Once outside, Padilla threw the gun down and said, “Damn it, I can’t kill myself now.”

The gun belonged to the boy’s father.

The Ellis County Press doesn’t typically name minors accused of crimes, but a judge ordering a defendant to stand trial as an adult is an exception.

An investigator stated Padilla had a photo of Noelle on his phone with the caption, “I have feelings for you but I’m scared.”

Before the shooting, Padilla texted his father, “I love you, sorry for what I’m about to do.” 

He left a note for his mother that said, “I love you mom.”

A psychologist, Robert Lackey, told the court Padilla was respectful during therapy sessions but quickly got angry, WBAP reported. 

In 2015 and 2016, Padilla talked in therapy about wanting to burn the school and kill others and animals.

McIntosh also said Padilla had previously stabbed a dog, saying he did it “because I can’t feel anything.” The investigator also said the boy stabbed another student in the shoulder at a park.

Italy High student Cassie Shook has said she first went to school officials after Padilla allegedly made a “hit list” in eighth grade and her name was on it. Cassie has also said the teen got angry during a class and threw a pair of scissors at her friend and later threw a computer against a wall.

Padilla turned 17 last Thursday. Texas automatically tries defendants as adults if they are 17. But the law is based on the suspect’s age at the time of the crime, not the age at trial. Children as young as 14 can be tried as adults with a judge’s approval.

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