Boy in false shooting report issues apology

The student responsible for the 911 call on March 20 falsely reporting a shooting at New Prague Middle School has issued a public apology.

According to Marsh Hallberg, the boy's attorney, the 12-year-old boy's case in Scott County Juvenile Court has been resolved. Because he is a minor, the outcome of the case will not be released. However the boy and his family have both issued apologies to those affected by the false report.

"My client is a soft-spoken, quiet and polite young man," Hallberg said. "He was born with significant special needs through no fault of his own, and was adopted from the Ukraine by a loving family in Minnesota.

"Those who have or work with special needs children know that every day is a challenge. This young man's parents have been as proactive and supportive of their child as anyone can be."

Hallberg said on March 20, the 12-year-old had been driven by his father to school and was then handed off to his para-professional. Unknown to anyone, the young man had found a discarded cell phone of his parents. A disabled phone can still make 911 calls. "This young man told the police that he called 911 because he liked police cars and their flashing lights. He went into a bathroom stall and placed the false 911 call." Hallberg said.

"My client's parents received the school alert as did others with students at the New Prague Middle School. My client's father, not yet knowing that his son was involved, paced outside the Middle School terrorized like other parents for several hours until he also learned that the call was a hoax. As such, he truly can empathize with other parents."

The parents also issued a public apology to all affected "by the inappropriate and thoughtless actions of our son," They went on to request forgiveness from the community and those affected.

The apology went on to describe how the parents are working with their son to help him understand "The absolute terror families experience." They said they have put in safeguards to minimize any future wrongdoing." They also thanked the law enforcement and first responders for the professional and prompt response they made in handling the case.

In a handwritten note, the boy added his own apologies, to the parents, children, emergency personnel, staff and teachers.