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Alleged Madison School Shooter Denies Charges At Arraignment

Tana Weingartner
Hancock showed little emotion during his brief arraignment Tuesday.

The 14-year-old accused of attempted murder following a shooting Monday at Madison Jr/Sr High School denied the charges against him at an arraignment in Butler County Juvenile Court Tuesday.

In juvenile court, a denial of charges is the equivalent of a not guilty plea.

James Austin Hancock showed little emotion during the brief hearing. He was sent back to juvenile detention. His next hearing is set for April 5 in Butler County Judge Ronald Craft's chambers.

It's up to the Butler County Prosecutor's office to decide if the county will pursue adult charges.

Hancock's family wept throughout the proceedings. His attorney declined to comment.

Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
The 14-year-old accused of shooting two of his classmates was arraigned Tuesday in a Butler County juvenile courtroom.

Hancock is charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of felonious assault, inducing panic, and making terrorist threats, all felonies. Authorities say he entered the Jr/Sr high school cafeteria Monday morning and shot two students. Two others were injured. None of the injuries is said to be life threatening.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said Monday that authorities may know a motive but he wouldn't discuss what it may be.

School was closed Tuesday.

During a morning news conference outside the Jr/Sr High School, Superintendent Curtis Philpot praised students, staff and first responders for how they reacted to Monday's events. Staff are gathering for a district-wide meeting and a crisis response team will be on hand throughout the day for them. Philpot says the all-staff meeting will discuss moving forward. "That's our focus," he says.

The district is planning to re-open Wednesday. Students and their families are invited to visit the school Tuesday evening from 6-7:30 p.m. for a walk through so they will feel comfortable in the building when classes resume. Philpot says additional staff members will also be on school buses Wednesday. Extra resources will be available in the school's cafeteria, where the shooting occurred, so students will feel safe returning. Crisis counselors will be available at the school as well.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.