ATLANTA — Police say a 16-year-old boy accidentally shot himself while breaking into cars near Georgia State University.
The teenager is now facing charges, but he did not go to jail.
Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes found out why.
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“I mean, I can’t say I was making, like, the best decisions when I was 16,” Macai Seymore said.
Seymore is a junior at GSU studying psychology.
He said he doesn’t condone the fact that a 16-year-old boy was out here near GSU’s campus Tuesday night breaking into cars.
But he also doesn’t think committing those crimes should define the teen’s future.
“Even if it was my car, I don’t think hurting him or staying in jail would help me out,” Seymore said.
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According to police, the teen had a gun on him while breaking into cars on Decatur Street and Piedmont Avenue.
Police say he accidentally shot himself in the foot.
They charged him with a felony of entering auto, charges of damage to property and having tools on him used to break into cars.
But he never got booked into the juvenile jail because Georgia has a point system.
And apparently, this teen’s record didn’t warrant him sitting in jail while he waits for his day in court.
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We spoke to students who had mixed feelings about that.
“I think as a 16-year-old, you’re still a minor and his brain is probably still developing. Doesn’t really know wrong from right, but there has to be some level of accountability on his part. I think a less severe punishment than jail is suitable,” Musungedi Etongwe said.
“Like even if it’s my car and it was broken into, he’s young enough that I feel like this isn’t something that should define, like, the rest of his life,” Heaven Varner said.
The state of Georgia has a point system for juveniles. Every time Atlanta Police arrest a minor, they have to call the Youth Detention Center and do a point check on that minor. What happens next depends on how many times the teen has been in trouble.
Fernandes spoke to several police officers that said the point system is designed to give minors a second and third chance. Minors who continue to break the law will end up in the juvenile detention center.
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