UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A 14-year-old who was attacked on a Prince George’s County school bus earlier this month resisted telling police who did it. Police say they eventually identified the middle school suspects in the May 1 attack after seizing the victim’s phone.
Those were among the details that came out in a rare open hearing in Prince George's County District Court for two of the juveniles who are charged with attempted murder.
Judge Cheri Simpkins ordered that both suspects remain in custody at a section of the Prince George's County Detention Center where there are accommodations for juveniles charged as adults.
A source with connections to one suspect's family said custody at the county's jail is safer than custody at the state's juvenile system because teenaged gangs may be involved.
WUSA9 will not name the boys because they're juveniles.
The suspects in court Friday were among three middle-schoolers accused of being caught on camera pushing past a Prince George’s County school bus driver and aide on May 1 in Oxon Hill and proceeding to act together like a hit squad to attempt to kill another student.
A detective in the case said the video showed only one masked attacker with a gun. The detective testified that the 9mm semi-auto-pistol jammed repeatedly, which likely saved the victim's life.
The teenaged attacker held the gun to the victim’s head and chest while his accomplices held the victim down, the investigator said.
The three boys on video then beat the victim and fled, leaving the bus driver and aide also terrorized, according to testimony.
Lesser misdemeanor charges related to gun possession were dropped by Judge Simpkins, but she ordered that the most serious attempted murder charges move forward after prosecutors argued the boys acted "in concert" with each other to carry off a planned attack.
Prince George's County State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy said the case should be a warning to other teens and parents that prosecutors will not hesitate to charge violent teens as adults.
“Parents should know who their children are hanging out with, who they are socializing with, and who is influencing them," Braveboy cautioned.
"Even if your child does not have a weapon, but the person they are with has a weapon and they intend to do harm, they will be charged as if they had the weapon. It's really important to take this seriously. We are serious about prosecuting everyone who is a gun offender here in Prince George’s County.”
According to testimony Friday, the gunman is a 15-year-old who has still not been caught. The gun has not been recovered.
Police are continuing to search for the boy.
The 14-year-old victim in the case knew his attackers by name but refused for three days to tell police, according to the investigator's testimony.
Police say they identified the masked suspects only after seizing the victim's phone and discovering it has been used to text the attackers’ names shortly after the assault to a contact.
Attorneys for the two boys who are in custody said they are innocent.
The attorneys argued that the attackers can’t be identified on video because of the masks.
They said the victim’s reluctance to name his attackers calls his truthfulness into question.