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Funeral service for teacher fatally shot

Flowers and signs were placed on the gates of the Lake Worth Middle School in Lake Worth, Florida, in memory of slain teacher Barry Grunow  

Florida grand jury to consider indicting suspect, 13, as an adult

May 30, 2000
Web posted at: 1:43 p.m. EDT (1743 GMT)

In this story:

'Everybody's still in shock'

Prosecutor: Crime was premeditated


WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- As slain middle school English teacher Barry Grunow was being mourned Tuesday, a Florida prosecutor moved to have the 13-year-old accused killer put on trial in adult court for first-degree murder.

At the request of State Attorney Barry Krischer, a grand jury was seated to consider the case against the teen, Nathaniel Brazill.

Krischer said 21 grand jurors will begin hearing evidence in the next week or two.

Brazill, a seventh-grade honor student with perfect attendance, was sent home from Lake Worth Middle School on Friday for throwing water balloons in a hallway.


Listen to 911 recordings released by police after the fatal shooting of Lake Worth Middle School teacher Barry Grunow

122K/11 sec.
AIFF or WAV sound

He later returned and allegedly fired one shot from a small gun, killing Grunow, 35.

The popular teacher was married and the father of two children -- a 5-year-old boy and a 6-month-old daughter.

'Everybody's still in shock'

Hundreds of people -- including family, friends, colleagues and students, some carrying flowers -- attended a funeral service Tuesday for Grunow at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Lake Worth.

An evening candlelight vigil in his memory also was planned for John Prince Park in Lake Worth.

"I think everybody's still in shock," said Shelley Vana, president of the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association.

"I know our teachers are distraught, our teachers are grieving, and I think the entire community is just ... we're still stunned. We never believed that this would happen here. I guess that's what everyone says. But it did," she told CNN.

Prosecutor: Crime was premeditated

Krischer said that when he goes before the grand jury it will only take about half a day to lay his case for a first-degree murder indictment because, the prosecutor says, Brazill told police he had shot the teacher and the incident was captured by school surveillance cameras.

To indict Brazill on a first-degree murder charge, a grand jury must believe the student had planned to shoot Grunow. "The fact that this boy went home, got a gun, and returned with it to the school is premeditation," Krischer said.

If indicted as an adult, Brazill would be transferred from a juvenile detention facility, where he currently is held, to a Palm Beach County jail pending his arraignment.

If convicted as an adult, the boy faces a mandatory sentence of life without parole. If Brazill is convicted as a juvenile, he could be confined until he reaches age 21.

Witnesses said Brazill shot Grunow in the face after the teacher denied the boy's request to enter a classroom to say good-bye to two female students before classes were dismissed for the summer.

According to police, two youths claim Brazill was brandishing a handgun three days before Grunow was killed.

The youths, who were not identified by police, told investigators that Brazill showed them the gun near his home on May 23, but they didn't tell anyone about the incident, police said.

Young people need to learn that "telling is not tattling," Krischer said.

Investigators have examined the bedroom dresser drawer where Brazill's grandfather, Elmore McCray, 75, claims he kept the handgun allegedly used to kill the teacher.

Police believe Brazill took the .25-caliber pistol from McCray's home last week.

Krischer said he is looking into whether he has enough evidence to possibly file weapons charges against McCray.

Brazill's mother agreed Sunday to allow detectives to search her son's room. Police retrieved his computer and have asked the FBI for help analyzing its contents.

Correspondent Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

Brazill allegedly showed weapon to friends before shooting
May 29, 2000
Police release 911 tape in Florida school shooting case
May 29, 2000

Lake Worth Community Middle School
  • Mr. Barry Grunow

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