September 29, 2010 10:56 AM
Police say no charges will be filed against a 68-year-old woman who shot a 12-year-old boy after he and a 13-year-old friend broke the windows of her South Shore neighborhood home, then shouted obscenities and threw bricks at her.
The boys, however, have been charged as juveniles with aggravated assault of a person over the age of 60 and have been released to their parents, police said.
Police said the woman, who lives alone, acted in self-defense -- a belief shared by neighbors who said the woman known as "Miss Margaret" had been harassed by the boys before and had called police to no avail.
"She talked to me on Friday," Frenchie Johnson told reporters. "She said, 'Frenchie I've done had enough.' They set the garbage can on fire, her barbecue pit, this isn't the first time they busted a window. It's bad."
Late Tuesday afternoon, the woman returned to her home in the 7600 block of South Coles Avenue from grocery shopping and noticed all the windows broken, according to police. The woman then saw two boys running away.
The woman called police and was putting away her groceries when the boys showed up again, authorities said.
The woman walked out onto the porch and the boys began shouting obscenities and throwing bricks at her, authorities said. The woman then pulled out a gun and opened fire, striking one of the boys in the shoulder, authorities said.
The boy was treated at Comer Children's Hospital, and he and the 13-year-old were then charged with aggravated assault.
The 12-year-old's grandmother said he and his friend were just walking by the home when they were shot for no reason.
"He and his friend were walking down the street," Donna Virges told reporters. "And they saw a window broken at a woman's house, and as they passed by, they said she came out shooting."
"I hope they took her to jail, I hope so, something's wrong with her," she added.
Some neighbors also questioned the shooting.
"I think that's crazy, a lady would shoot at a child," Dominique Ward said. "How can you fix yourself to shoot at a 12-year-old?"
But most neighbors rallied around the woman, some saying they would have done the same thing because police are slow to respond to their complaints about vandalism.
"She was being protective of herself," said a man who lives next door. "What they did was wrong. Especially with her being an older woman."
The neighbor said someone vandalized his family's property about a week ago and broke out a window. "We just ran outside and that scared them off."
"I wouldn't have pulled out a weapon," he said. "But I'm glad [she] wasn't charged. She probably thought they were (going to) come in her house next. She was only protecting herself."
Other neighbors said the 12-year-old is well-known on the block.
"His name? As far as I know him, I call him the little bad boy," said Hilda Brunt.
-- Jeremy Gorner, Deanese Williams
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