Fern Creek High School shooter takes plea deal sentencing him to - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fern Creek High School shooter takes plea deal sentencing him to 18 years

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The man accused of shooting a student at the Fern Creek High School last September has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 years behind bars Friday morning -- but he could be a free man as early as nine months.

Andre Banks appeared pleaded guilty to first degree Assault, first degree Wanton Endangerment, Tampering with Physical Evidence, Possession of a Weapon on School Property, Possession of a Handgun by a Minor and Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon.

He has been given a total sentence of 18 years -- though he might not serve much of that 18-year sentence. The plea agreement allows Banks to stay in juvenile detention until he turns 18 in December. Because he was a child at the time of the crime, he must be re-sentenced as an adult, and will then be eligible for probation.

Prosecutors agreed that if Banks finishes his diploma and stays out of trouble behind bars, they will not fight his release -- giving him a second chance.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Elizabeth Jones Brown said the family of the victim, 15-year-old Javaughntay Burroughs, was pleased with the deal and wanted Banks to have a chance to become a productive citizen.

"They were not out for vengeance," she said. "They were out for making sure that he took responsibility and moving on with the rest of his life and not hurting anyone else."

Banks originally told police he was trying to shoot another student after the altercation on Sept. 30 when he inadvertently hit Burroughs in the stomach. Burroughs survived the shooting.

“I shot the wrong person,” Banks told Louisville Metro Police, according to an interview filed in his felony assault case on Wednesday, though he expressed little regret about the mistake.

Banks, now 17, told police he "got mad" because he believed another student had given him a counterfeit $100 bill in exchange for an iPad.

While he told police he was wrong for shooting someone, he said that he didn't feel too badly because the person he felt had stolen from him likely "learned his lesson though."

After selling the iPad, Banks said he started asking other students and even teachers whether they thought the $100 bill was real. A counselor even asked him where he had gotten the bill, he said.

Banks said he later passed the other student in the hallway and asked for the iPad back, telling him the $100 bill was a fake. The other student told him the money was real and the two got into an argument, Banks said.

Banks later claimed the other student acknowledged the bill was fake but refused to return the iPad, telling Banks he had a gun and knew where Banks lived.

“I thought about that … I got little brothers and sisters,” Banks told police, adding that he pulled his weapon as the other kid was turned around, walking away. “I shot it towards his back.”

“So he was no threat to you? … If he was walking away, how could he be a threat to you?” a detective asked Banks during the Sept. 30 interview.

“He could have gotten to me somehow,” Banks responded, again reiterating that the other juvenile had talked about going to Banks' home.

Asked again why he tried to shoot someone who was walking away from him, Banks said “it is the principle.”

“Was it worth it?” a detective asked him.

“Yes,” Banks said before adding that he “wouldn't do it again. But he learned his lesson though.”

Asked what he would say to the student he accidentally shot, Banks told police “that's my bad.” But he also blamed the student he believed ripped him off, telling police if “he hadn't tried to be so slick … nobody would have got shot.”

Another officer asked Banks why he didn't just fight the other student if he had a problem with him. Banks said it was the other student who first mentioned a gun and was fearful for his family.

The other student claims in his interview with police that Banks pulled his shirt up to show the handgun and when he began to run away, Banks shot him. He said he felt the wind of the bullet as it whizzed past him.

Besides interviews with Banks, Javaughntay and several others, the evidence released this week includes photos of the scene and the gun used and calls to 911.

Towards the end of his interview, Banks asked police what Javaughntay looked like and then asked why so many police officers were looking for him after the shooting, wanting to know if the intended target had told on him. Banks also asked where Javaughntay had been shot.

Banks also said he feared retaliation from the intended target and his family and would have to arm himself for protection when he gets out of jail.

After the shooting, Banks ran to a nearby apartment complex, going into the bathroom of someone's apartment, throwing off his clothes as he fled. He was soon arrested by police.

During the interview, Banks told police he would have shot a police dog if officers had sent one into the apartment.

Javaughntay, who was hit one time in the stomach, told police Banks “missed” and hit him after arguing with another student. He said he and Banks had a class together but weren't friends.

Julius Burroughs, the brother of Javaughntay, told police he heard Banks yell, “I want my money” and pull out a gun, firing one shot.

Javaughntay ran down stairs to the school's second floor, where he stopped, laid down and told people he had been shot, according to court records. Javaughntay returned to Fern Creek earlier this month.

In his interview, Banks told police he bought the small, silver handgun for $40 about five weeks before the shooting. He said he had taken the gun to school the week before the shooting because he was having trouble with some other juveniles near his bus stop.

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