Australian teen first to be jailed for carrying out US-style school shooting

Teen admitted he intended to ‘kill people and myself’

Namita Singh
Friday 01 March 2024 10:16 GMT
Related: How a mass shooting changed UK gun laws

A teenager in Australia is the first person to be jailed to three years in juvenile detention for carrying out an American-style school shooting.

The 15-year-old fired three shots with two rifles at the Atlantis Beach Baptist College last May. But it was only “good luck” that had “prevented a tragic outcome”, said Perth Children’s Court Judge Hylton Quail, while sentencing him.

The teen, who has not been identified in the media, took rifles and ammunition from his father’s gun cabinet before heading to the Atlantis Beach Baptist College where he fired three shots.

While two of bullets hit the building, one of the gunshots landed close to where students were walking. A 12-year-old recounted grass “spitting up” at him from where the bullet hit, reported ABC News.

The staff and students were left cowering in cupboards and under desk, as the school went into total lockdown.

The teenager then rang the emergency line informing them he had been going “kill people and myself” but has now changed his mind as he does not want his siblings to be related to a killer.

He was subsequently arrested and remanded to the troubled Banksia Hill Juvenile Centre. He was granted bail after ten days and later returned to live with his family. The teen pleaded guilty last year to several charges, including endangering lives and discharging a firearm to cause fear.

It is the first time anyone has been sentenced for a school shooting in Australia, according to reports.

The teen’s lawyer Simon Freitag at the time submitted to the court that his client was suffering from depression and had undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder. However, he added that the mental impact on those at the school would weigh heavily, reported BBC News.

"I do need to say out loud the very obvious point that this has caused significant fear and distress," he said.

Describing the crime as “extremely serious and wicked”, Judge Quail said: “This offending has caused fear and anxiety to many vulnerable and innocent people.”

Meanwhile, state education minister Tony Buti issued a statement saying the incident reveals that the society “have to be vigilant about the welfare of our students and ensure we’re always speaking to our teachers and professionals about student wellbeing”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in