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Last updated on Tuesday, May 20, 2014
(INDIANAPOLIS) - A panel of judges released its decision Monday that Chance Jackson and Brandon Kent can sue the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville over the March 25, 2011 shooting that injured both students.
Jackson suffered two gunshot wounds in his abdomen and had seven damaged internal organs and spent a month in the hospital.
Morgan County Superior Court I Judge G. Thomas Gray ruled last year that the families of the two boys injured in the shooting at the school can proceed to trial. But the school district appealed that decision.
The ruling affirms a lower court decision last year that allows the families of the two injured boys to proceed to trial.
They argue the district knew the gunman, Michael Phelps, was a threat and should have taken more precautions.
Jackson's attorney, Ian Thompson says their argument is not about whether the school should have had more staff, security cameras or metal detectors. He added the school's security plan was carried out poorly especially because the staff knew Phelps was dangerous.
He added that Jackson knew of a threat from Phelps the day of the shooting but did not report it to officials, per school policy.
Tony Overholt, attorney for the school district, says anyone can come along and say the school should have done more. He added governmental agencies are immune from that according to the state legislature.
Michael Phelps, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was accused of shooting then 15-year-old Chance Jackson at Martinsville West Middle School.
While Phelps was in jail facing the attempted murder charges in the shooting of Jackson, he asked friends to list and beat up several juveniles he perceived as threats. He also sent messages to friends about his intent to do harm when released.
In the police reports, Phelps is quoted as saying that when he gets out, "I'll start at the top of the list and work (through) it." In a letter dated June 1 (2011) , Phelps said, "This town is going to remember me when I get out they better believe it."
He also writes "Omg, I'm ... mad at myself for wasting those perfectly good hollow point bullets on (Chance Jackson). Omg as of right now, I would be better if I shot a cop instead. I swear when I get out, I'm going to raise hell the day I get out (they're) going to regret it."
In a letter dated June 13 2011, Phelps wrote the town "better have cops watch my every move. I'ma going to blow it up. O well people better know I ain't scared to pull the trigger when I get out."
Rebecca Jackson is asking for unspecified damages that will compensate her family for injuries suffered by her son in a March 25 shooting at West Middle School.
In the early morning hours of March 25, Michael Phelps waited on Chance Jackson outside West Middle School. When Jackson entered the school, Phelps shot him twice, then ran away. He was apprehended a short time later.
In a bench trial in July, Phelps admitted he intended to kill Jackson.
In her suit, Jackson alleges that at the time of the shooting Phelps was not supposed to be on school property and that the school knew or should have known that he posed a threat to the safety of the students at the school.
Jackson alleges that, while her son was at school, the school was responsible for his safety and welfare. She said the school had a duty to protect the students, including her son from "reasonably foreseeable criminal acts of third parties."
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