Juvenile suspect to appear in court

Feb. 07, 2014 @ 04:52 AM

After months of awaiting the results of a mental evaluation, the 14-year-old juvenile suspect involved in the shooting of 16-year-old Dominique Fernanders in Spindale on Sunday, Nov. 17 is scheduled to appear in juvenile court this morning.

The mental evaluation that came back to court officials on Jan. 21 indicated the juvenile, who faces a charge of attempted murder, is competent to stand trial.

According to court officials, there was a delay in receiving the evaluation because when the mental evaluation report was first requested, it was sent to other places instead of the juvenile detention facility in Taylorsville where the suspect was being held.

However, court officials advised that the evaluation still raises additional questions about the juvenile, and they are expecting to request an expert evaluation of the youth to give a more thorough report as to his psychological condition.

In addition to the juvenile, others have been subpoenaed to appear in court today in relation to the case, including Fernanders.

Despite what happens in court today, court officials believe the case will be continued.

On Sunday, Nov. 17 around 5 p.m., officers with the Spindale Police Department were dispatched to 135 Johnson Street in reference to shots fired following an altercation.

The police report indicated that witnesses advised a 14-year-old juvenile arrived at the Johnson Street residence carrying a single barrel shotgun.

Following a verbal exchange between Fernanders and the other juveniles inside the residence, the suspect attempted to break down the front door. After failing to gain entry, the suspect shoved the barrel of the shotgun through the window of the front door and fired into the residence, the report stated.

Upon arrival officers discovered Fernanders suffering from a single gunshot wound to his left arm and torso. Although there were other juveniles inside the residence at the time of the shooting, officers said Fernanders was the only one injured.

Fernanders was taken to Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville were he underwent multiple surgeries. He continues to recover from wounds sustained in the incident.

After the shooting, the report advised that the juvenile fled the scene on foot and a short time later his father, Charles Franklin McDowell, returned him to the scene and turned him over to authorities.

McDowell's home on Ledbetter Road is less than a mile from the Johnston Street residence where the shooting occurred.

According to the report, McDowell also recovered the shotgun used in the incident and surrendered it to officers.

The next day Spindale officers identified McDowell as the owner of the shotgun and issued two warrants for his arrest, including failure to secure a firearm from a minor and possession of firearm by a felon.

McDowell was taken into custody the same day for the first warrant and was out on bond Tuesday. On Tuesday evening, officers located and arrested McDowell on the second warrant, for which he received a $30,000 unsecured bond.

Authorities have still not publicly released the juvenile suspect's name at this time.