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Teen Gets Eight Years for Shooting Classmate

WASHINGTON (CN) - A 17-year-old who shot a classmate in their high school parking lot as classes let out will serve eight years in prison, a judge ruled.

Prosecutors had charged Brandon Smothers, of Washington, D.C., as an adult for the Sept. 19, 2012, shooting.

Smothers pleaded guilty weeks later in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to one count of aggravated assault while armed.

Prosecutors said the shooting stemmed from a verbal altercation between Smothers and the 18-year-old victim inside their classroom at Coolidge High School.

Though school officials escorted Smothers out of the classroom, the victim remained in class and even helped other students with their school work, prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, Smothers left the school premises and returned at about 3 p.m. to confront the victim in the school parking lot.

Prosecutors said the victim was walking to get on a school bus as Smothers and he exchanged words.

"Smothers then pulled a black .380 semiautomatic handgun from his waist area and pointed it at the victim's chest area," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office. "The victim turned around and, as he ran away, Smothers fired the gun at him several times. Four shots hit the victim in the leg and lower body area."

The fleeing victim tried to shield fellow classmates in the parking lot from the gunfire, prosecutors added.

Police who saw Smothers running from the scene apprehended the boy and recovered the firearm from the path he had been taking, as well as shell casings from the school parking lot.

Smothers' victim survived the shooting but required surgery.

Judge Patricia Broderick ordered Smothers on Friday to serve eight years in prison, plus five years of supervised release.

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