NORTH COVENTRY — The high school student shot and wounded allegedly by a classmate earlier this month may be out of the hospital, but he is not out of the woods in his progress toward recovery, a prosecutor said during a court proceeding here Monday.

The 14-year-old, whose name has not been released publicly, was discharged from the Reading Hospital and Trauma Center over the weekend, partially recovered from the two bullet wounds he suffered in the April 1 incident.

Chester County Deputy District Attorney Thomas Ost-Prisco told District Judge John Hipple of North Coventry in brief comments during the proceeding, at which the 15-year-old charged with his attempted murder agreed to forego a preliminary hearing.

“He has a very long road ahead of him,” Ost-Prisco told the judge, saying that the teenager had not yet begun walking on his own yet and would almost certainly miss the remainder of the school year. He was shot in the abdomen and shoulder in the incident.

Defendant Raul Castro, 15, of Lower Pottsgrove, waived his right to a preliminary hearing, at which the prosecution would have had to present basic evidence about the shooting and Castro’s role in it.

He did so with the advice of his defense attorney, Evan Kelly of the West Chester law firm of Kelly & Conte, after Ost-Prisco withdrew two felony charges against him.

Castro had been charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person, and one count each of possession of an instrument of crime and possession of a firearm by a minor.

Ost-Prisco told Hipple that he was withdrawing one count each of attempted murder and aggravated assault that would have applied to a witness to the shooting, another teenage classmate of Castro and the victim.

Castro said nothing during the proceeding, which lasted about five minutes. Kelly told Hipple that he had explained Castro’s rights to have the hearing to him, and that the youth had agreed to have the case waived over for trial in Chester County Common Pleas Court without the hearing.

The parents of the victim, present for the proceeding, left Hipple’s courtroom without commenting. 

The next step in the case, Kelly indicated, is for attorneys to file a motion to have Castro’s case transferred from adult court to Juvenile Court, a process known as decertification. They will have to convince a Common Pleas judge that Castro would be better dealt with in the juvenile justice system rather than as an adult.

In comments that Kelly made in asking Hipple to reduce his client’s bail from $1 million to 10 percent of that amount, he said that Castro had no prior criminal record of any kind in the juvenile system, and had lived at home with his parents in Lower Pottsgrove for all of his 15 years.

Hipple accepted the waiver of a preliminary hearing, but declined to reduce Castro’s bail, a motion that Ost-Prisco had opposed because of the serious nature of the alleged offense.

He ordered the youth returned to Chester County Prison, where he has been held since his arrest. The judge, however, gave Castro’s parents, Raul and Brook Castro, a chance to speak with him in the court’s holding area under the supervision of state constables.

Castro, a student at Pottsgrove High School in Montgomery County, was charged after he was taken into custody by Lower Pottsgrove police officers following the report of a shooting around 3:45 p.m. on April 1.

Chief Michael Foltz, who attended the proceeding Monday, and Detective Sgt. Joseph Campbell, found him in the area of Porter Road in Lower Pottsgrove across the Schuylkill River from where the shooting allegedly occurred.

During a ride from the scene to the township police department, Castro allegedly told Officer David McKehnie that he, “tried to help him” by putting pressure on his wounds. 

“I felt bad after I did it,” he said, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case by lead investigators Chester County Detective Kristin C. Lund.

The police located the victim on the Chester County side of the river in East Coventry under an abandoned railroad bridge near Mark Drive, conscious but not alert. He was flown to the hospital by helicopter.

East Coventry and Lower Pottsgrove police were able to identify a witness the the events who had called 911 emergency to report the shooting. That witness, a 15-year-old who was classmates with Castro and the victim, said the shooting had its roots in a dispute that Castro had with him and the victim.

The trio had all been friends, the 15-year-old said, until the weekend before April 1. He and the victim had gone to Castro’s home where Castro told them he did not want to be their friends anymore, and that if they ever came back to his house he would slap them, Lund wrote in her complaint.

When the two appeared back to Castro’s house the following day, he told them he wanted a “real fight,” the 15-year-old said.

The three agreed at Castro’s urging to meet under the abandoned railroad bridge the afternoon of April 1. When Castro arrived, he walked down a set of stairs on the bridge to where the other two were waiting. They all then began walking to a nearby set of woods, with Castro behind the pair.

As they walked, the 15-year-old heard two gunshots. Realizing what was happening, the youth began t run away and heard a bullet pass by his head, he told Lund.

He eventually turned and went back to his friend, who was lying on the ground clutching a gun and bleeding from his stomach. The victim told the other youth to call 911, and the 15-year-old put his hands on the gunshot wound to try to stop the bleeding.

He said Castro “just stood there,” in contrast to Castro’s statement to police about trying to help his former friend.

Castro then ran from the scene.

The gun used in the shooting was recovered and traced to a relative of Castro’s who lived at his home.

Officials at the time said the type of violence is a rarity in East Coventry, located at the northern end of the county along the Schuylkill River. “East Coventry is a safe community and this type of gun violence is out of the ordinary," said Police Chief Bill Mossman.

“Fortunately for us, we seldom see this type of violence by juveniles in Chester County,” added District Attorney Tom Hogan in a press release announcing Castro’s arrest.

To contact Staff Writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.

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