UPDATE: On Tuesday, June 22, the Travis County District Attorney announced all charges have been dropped against a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old minor in connection with this shooting and we have removed the 17-year-old’s name from this story. Click here for details of why prosecutors dropped their charges.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — There are still a lot of questions surrounding the charges that the two suspects of the deadly mass shooting on Sixth Street shooting may face.
Police and the district attorney’s office have not yet released any information.
But KXAN got new insight from Brandon Grunewald, a long-time Austin attorney, who has experience in the Travis County District Attorney’s office.
As we’ve reported, both of these suspects — teenagers — are in custody. Police arrested 17-year-old Jeremiah Roshaun Leland James Tabb on Monday.
The other was arrested on Sunday, but a name hasn’t been released. That suspect is a juvenile in the eyes of the law.
Both being young will certainly play a role in charges, but to what extent?
Grunewald said there could be more than one outcome.
“They can be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, or they can be charged all the way up to murder,” Grunewald said.
According to Grunewald, just because aggravated assault is the arresting charge listed now doesn’t mean that’s the final choice for prosecution.
“I think the most important thing to remember is that final decision is really up to the District Attorney through the grand jury,” Grunewald said. “Law enforcement makes an arrest decision.”
So now, Grunewald says the DA is likely shifting through all evidence, trying to figure out what he has and what charges will stick.
“In the case involving numerous victims, you could see charges coming slowly as evidence comes to life, also as the medical condition of the individuals involved…that also changes what the district attorney might seek to charge the individuals,” Grunewald said.
Whether the young suspects have prior run-ins with the law will also be a factor in what punishment to seek.
“With the individuals involved in these cases have had no prior involvement with law enforcement, it will make it more difficult to justify a decision to seek the most strenuous sentence as possible,” Grunewald said.
As families grieve their losses and lives are forever changed, Grunewald said it’s important to make sure the process isn’t rushed.
“You want to give law enforcement and the attorney’s office time to make decisions based on all the evidence,” he said.
It’s important to note that the DA decides how to present the case to a grand jury. However, the grand jury ultimately decides the indictment that will go to trial.
We’re also working to get arrest documents, so that we can have a clearer picture of what actually happened that night. “Intent” plays a role in criminal charges, as well.