ATLANTA -- A spokesman for the DeKalb County District Attorney's office tells 11Alive News the 14-year-old arrested for shooting a man in Kirkwood could be charged as an adult.
Even though the alleged shooter is a minor, under Georgia's "seven deadly sins" law, he can be tried as an adult. The district attorney's office tell's 11Alive's Duffie Dixon the decision on whether to try him as an adult hasn't been made yet.
The juvenile suspect was arrested Saturday morning for the murder of a soldier in the Kirkwood area.
Because the suspect is a juvenile, police say they will not release his name or any information about him. He waived his first court appearance Monday.
Senate Bill 440, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act, was passed by the Georgia legislature in 1994. It gives the superior (adult) court jurisdiction over the trial of any juvenile 13-17 years old accused of committing one of the "seven deadly sins" including murder, rape, armed robbery with a firearm, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, or voluntary manslaughter. Prior to indictment, the superior court has prosecutorial discretion on which court will hear the case.
The victim, 21-year-old Xavier Arnold, was walking with his girlfriend and another friend on a bike path in Atlanta's Kirkwood neighborhood Thursday evening.
Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones said two suspects approached and got into a fight with the two male victims before shooting them and running away.
Arnold was shot in the head. His friend was shot in the leg and will recover.
Family members say Arnold served with the National Guard and was pursuing an art degree at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He grew up in the Atlanta area and had recently returned home.
Family members and friends held a candlelight vigil Saturday night near the scene of the crime.
Arnold's grandmother, Christine Arnold, said she is heartbroken.
"He was a good boy. Why would anyone kill him, especially someone so young. We're being told the suspect is just 14," said Christine Arnold.
There is a $5,000 reward for anyone that can help capture the suspects.
11Alive News also learned the case will not be tried in DeKalb County. The victim's mother works for the District Attorney. A spokesman for the office said it would be a conflict of interest. The case will go to the State Attorney General to be re-assigned.
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