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Teen charged with second-degree murder in Cold Spring shooting
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Dan Eller, Jason McLaughlin's attorney, said the teen is "sort of overwhelmed by everything." (MPR Photo/Tim Post)
Prosecutors filed a second degree murder charge against 15-year-old Jason McLaughlin on Friday in Stearns County. McLaughlin is accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Aaron Rollins and critically injuring 15-year-old Seth Bartell in a school shooting Wednesday at Rocori High School in Cold Spring. McLaughlin's lawyer says the state attorney general's office has filed papers to have the boy charged as an adult.

St. Cloud, Minn. — Jason McLauglin faces a charge of second degree murder and a charge of assault. The Rocori High School freshman is accused of shooting two classmates in their Cold Spring High School on Wednesday.

After McLauglin's appearance in closed juvenile court in St. Cloud, his attorney, Dan Eller, read a statement from the family.

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Image Patricia Scherrer

"On behalf of our entire family, we would like to extend our deepest sympathy to everyone involved in this terrible tragedy. The devastation that has been caused is irreparable. Our thoughts and prayers are with Seth's family and Aaron's family. The support shown by the community has been overwhelming. Although there are not answers we ask you to continue to pray for Aaron, Seth and Jason," the statement said.

Eller said the McLaughlin family sat quietly through the court appearance. Eller says in court Jason McLauglin looked "like a sad little boy."

"Jason is sort of overwhelmed by the whole thing, I mean he really is. It's just difficult for him understand how it happened and to deal with it, so that's kind of where everybody is at," Eller said.

Eller says the state attorney general's office has taken over the case from the Stearns County Attorney. Officials say that's in part to avoid a conflict of interest because McLauglin's father David is a Stearn's County sheriff's deputy.

Dan Eller also says the attorney general's office has filed papers to have McLauglin tried as an adult. He disagrees with that move and says McLauglin should be tried in the juvenile court system.

"Because he's 15 years old and the juvenile system is allowed to handle a case of this particular type. What we have to show is that he's amenable to treatment within the juvenile system, that's what the rules provide and that's what we're going to try and do," he said.

Eller says the decision on whether or not McLauglin will stand trial as an adult could take months.

At St. Cloud Hospital, the doctors caring for shooting victim Seth Bartell provided an update on his condition.

Dr. Patricia Scherrer) says Bartell is still in critical condition, suffering severe brain and head injuries after being shot in the head. "The entry wound was on the left side of his forehead. The bullet traveled through the left side of his brain and is now lodged in the back of his head in the area of the back of the brain. The path of the bullet as it traveled created damage, and just like damage anywhere else in the body, there is secondary swelling related to that initial injury," she said.

Dr Scherrer says Bartell requires a ventilator to breath, needs constant care and is unconscious.

"Seth is making some independent movements on his own, and beyond that it's too early to say."

St. Cloud Hospital's vice president for medical affairs, Daniel Whitlock, read a statement from Bartell's family. They said they are thankful for the "tremendous outpouring of support" they've received since Wednesday's shooting.

They also expressed sympathy for the family of Aaron Rollins, the Rocori senior who died a few hours after Wednesday shooting.

"We also want to express our feelings for the McLaughlins. We are so sorry for all they're going through," the statement said.

A funeral will be held on Monday for Aaron Rollins at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Cold Spring.

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