News 4 Investigates: Teen accused of shooting coworker at Arby’s in Maryland Heights

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 10:30 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - As the St. Louis region continues experiencing more crimes committed by children, how they’re treated by the judicial system still remains a mystery.

News 4 Investigates is getting answers to see how these kids are being held accountable and what’s being done to help them change their lives .

Court cases involving juveniles are protected by privacy laws, but some of that privacy goes away if they’re accused of a violent enough crime.

On Friday News 4 Investigates attended a hearing in St. Louis County District Court, for a now 17-year-old accused of shooting a co-worker. The hearing was to decide if the teen will be kept in the juvenile system or tried as an adult.

The judge ordered that the accused shooter, his family, and the victim cannot be identified.

Police say in July 2022 at the Arby’s off Dorsett Road in Maryland Heights, the teen, who was 16-years-old at the time, shot a co-worker during an argument.

During sworn testimony in court, a deputy juvenile officer described surveillance video that shows the teen shooting his co-worker, walking out then coming back to fire another shot. According to the testimony, the shooting happened in front of several people in the back kitchen at the Arby’s.

Prosecutors described the shooting as a “senseless rage” and said a few inches could have made this a murder case.

During the hearing, there was a statement read from that victim, who claims he’s had multiple surgeries and is afraid for his life.

Also in court, the juvenile officer testified the teen’s behavior is a, “repetitive pattern.” News 4 Investigates learned the 17-year-old has several other juvenile cases in Illinois.

The teen didn’t speak at the hearing but had his lawyer read a statement. In it, the teen talked about how he has a newborn son and wants to be there for him. The statement also said that being in juvenile detention, “changed his life for the better.”

This hearing was held seven months after the shooting.

The judge will issue a written order to decide if the teen’s case will stay in the juvenile system or be sent to adult court.