Teen shot children with air gun ‘to let off steam’

Pupils at Gilmerton primary were shot at with an air rifle. Picture: Jon savage
Pupils at Gilmerton primary were shot at with an air rifle. Picture: Jon savage
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A TEENAGER who shot terrified primary school children with an air weapon was stressed about his exams and “letting off some steam”, a court has heard.

Jack Hewitt, 17, opened fire with a BB gun from a window at his parents’ home, hitting several youngsters as they were enjoying their lunchtime break in the playground.

Hewitt, who was 16 at the time, hit one child in the forehead and another just below the eye with plastic pellets.

The pupils at Gilmerton Primary, Edinburgh – all of them in P4 and P5 – suffered red marks and bruising although none were seriously injured.

Hewitt yesterday pled guilty to a charge of culpably and recklessly discharging a firearm on 30 May this year.

Depute fiscal Susan Dickson told Edinburgh Sheriff Court that police were called to Hewitt’s home.

She said: “He appeared to the officers to be tearful and said he had shot the BB gun but said he did not mean to hit anyone.

“He said he had shot from the bathroom window, but was unable to explain why he had done something so stupid. He was detained and taken to St Leonard’s police station.”

Questioned at the police station, Hewitt said: “I was just letting off some steam. I’ll never do it again.”

Ms Dickson added: “He said that he was sitting Higher exams at the time and that the stress had got to him.”

Jordan Lennox, ten, was one of the pupils hit. He suffered minor bruising to his left arm.

Jordan’s parents, Raymond and Gillian, were in court and said they were still angry about the incident.

Mr Lennox, 40, said: “I just don’t understand why someone would do this. He could have ruined these kids’ and their families’ lives. What if he had hit someone in the eye?

“He is obviously well educated enough to know better.”

Speaking at the time, Jordan said: “It was really scary. We were all in shock. People started to scream and run.

“I thought I had been hit by a stone at first, but then we were told to get away from where we were and they said someone had been shooting.”

The case was adjourned until 21 January for social inquiry reports.

John Lamont, Scottish Conservative chief whip, said: “The public will hope this disgraceful and extraordinarily dangerous act is met with a tough sentence.

“Pathetic excuses like he was ‘blowing off steam’ should be completely dismissed.

“He’s lucky, given the sheer stupidity of his actions, that he wasn’t up on more severe charges today.”

Chief Superintendent Mark Patterson, commander of the Police Scotland Edinburgh division, said last night: “I welcome this guilty plea, as this was a reckless act against young children which had the potential to cause serious injury.

“This incident caused a lot of concern in the school and local community, and I am pleased that we were able to arrest this young man quickly in order to keep people safe.”