Tarrant County

Accused Lamar HS Shooter to Remain in Custody, Psychiatric Evaluation Ordered

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A juvenile court judge in Tarrant County has ordered the teenager accused in the Lamar High School shooting to remain in custody at least for another 10 business days.

The early morning shooting outside the school building on March 20 left one student dead and another injured.

NBC 5 was in the courtroom when 323rd District Court Judge Alex Kim made his decision after hearing from attorneys and the boy’s great-aunt.

Kim is also ordering the 15-year-old suspect to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

The Arlington Police Department reports that as of Thursday, detectives still have not found a link between the suspected shooter and the victims.

Ja’Shawn James Poirier, 16, died after being shot near his collarbone, according to court records.

Ja'Shawn James Poirier
Family photo, NBC 5 News
Ja'Shawn James Poirier, inset, was fatally shot outside Lamar High School in Arlington, March 20, 2023.

His family is holding a balloon release in his honor Thursday evening back home in Michigan.

Kim revealed the female student who was shot in the jawline had surgery to remove objects from her face.

Doctors were unable to remove a large object. The girl has been referred to a plastic surgeon.

The accused shooter appeared in a juvenile courtroom Thursday afternoon as part of a 10-day detention hearing held for minors to determine if they will be released with conditions or continue to be held in the juvenile detention center.

Kim decided to hold the suspect, at least until the next detention hearing in 10 business days. This is the second such ruling from the judge since the teen’s arrest.

“I’m still concerned about the safety of the community if I were to release you,” Kim explained to the teen.

Surveillance videos show the shooter dressed in black with white sneakers pull out a shotgun, point it at the school’s entrance and open fire, according to court documents.

A motive is still not known, according to APD.

A woman who identified herself as the suspect’s great aunt told Judge Kim the boy’s mother lives in Louisiana and was unable to attend the hearing.

Reporter Maria Guerrero observed the woman and boy smiling and waving at each other before the hearing began. The suspect wore a standard-issued sweatshirt and khaki pants and sat quietly with a handful of other juveniles accused of crimes.

The boy lives with his father, the woman’s nephew.

When asked about any mental health issues, the woman told Kim, the teen "has some undiagnosed issues." What the alleged ‘issues’ are was not discussed in court, but Kim granted defense attorney Lisa Herrick’s request for a psychiatric evaluation.

“I don’t have a reason to think that there is something psychological,” said Herrick after the hearing. “But in this kind of situation where the charges are so serious, I want information on everything.”

Herrick tells NBC 5 her client has never been in trouble and is intellectually aware of the gravity of the situation. There is no history of drug use, she says.

Asked whether he’s expressed remorse, Herrick responded: “I’m very excited to share those details with you once we’re able to present the investigation.”

Herrick has cautioned against prematurely judging the teen saying they are conducting their own investigation which will soon shed light on the ‘why.’

Kim ended the hearing by commending the boy for his good behavior the past two weeks.

“I don’t want you to get discouraged,” said Kim explaining to the teen his actions are being monitored and could be used against him during future detention hearings and his trial.

“I have released children for capital murder offenses before, but I’m going to be honest. It has taken months and months and months because of the offense accused, based on the report I’m getting, I have to take this very seriously,” said Kim.

Herrick says it’s not yet known if the teen will be charged as an adult.

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