Teen who brought loaded gun to Iowa school just wanted attention, attorney says

Posted at 8:53 PM, Jul 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-11 20:53:06-04

DAVENPORT, Iowa - A defense attorney argued Thursday that a teen boy brought a loaded gun to school did so in a bid for attention, not to cause any physical harm.

Eight witnesses testified in court as 13-year-old Luke Andrews sat beside his lawyers inside the Scott County Courthouse.

North Scott Junior High School counselor Holly Leinhauser was emotional as she remembered the moments that she worked with another teacher to grab the gun out of the then-12-year-old's hands.

"Then I asked, 'What was the intent? What were you trying to do?' And he said, 'To end it and end anything' that got in his way," Leinhauser told the jury when asked about August 31, 2018.

That's the day police say Andrews brought a .22 caliber pistol to school.

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He is accused of walking into a classroom, telling his peers to get down, pointing the gun at a teacher and pulling the trigger. The safety was reportedly on, preventing the gun from firing.

The boy's defense attorneys said Andrews never intended to kill anyone.

"What Luke did was attention-seeking behavior," said defense attorney Meenakshi Brandt. "Not intent to commit murder."

In an opening statement, Brandt told the jury, "He did bring a gun to school. He did bring it into a classroom. Luke owns that fact."

The school resource officer held the gun up in court and identified it.

Andrews is on trial in adult court and is charged as a youthful offender.

Prosecutors used their opening statement to remind the jury of the job they have to do to give Andrews a fair trial.

"I will ask you to put aside your sympathy, your bias, and I will ask you to follow the law," said Julie Walton, Assistant Attorney in Scott County, Iowa.

Court resumes Friday at 9 a.m. at the Scott County Courthouse.