Shelby County Student Severely Beaten

By James Zambroski

(SHELBYVILLE, Ky., April 8th, 2004) -- A Shelby County High School is recovering in the hospital after being brutally attacked in a school hallway Wednesday morning. Another student is now charged with attempted murder. WAVE 3 Investigator James Zambroski has more.

Police are crediting a Shelby County High School teacher on duty as a hall monitor with possibly saving 15-year-old Justin Brown's life. After the attack, he was taken to Jewish Hospital in Shelbyville, where he is recovering with dozens of stitches in his head and face -- the result of being attacked from behind by someone with a hammer and a homemade bat.

"I remember getting up," Justin said from his hospital bed. "But it was already over when I got up. So I was just laying there in a big puddle of blood. People started talking me into consciousness, getting me calm and stuff."

Police say the attack came a couple of weeks after Justin, a freshman, got into a scuffle in shop class with a 17-year-old senior. The shop teacher broke up the fight, but the senior, who we cannot name, allegedly wanted revenge.

"We believe this was a thought that was in the perpetrator's mind," Shelby County Sheriff Mike Armstrong said Wednesday. "He definitely came to school seek him out today."

Justin was hit repeatedly in the head and face with a ball pein hammer and bat. DuAnne Puckett, Community Relations Coordinator with the Shelby County Board of Education, says a hall monitor found Justin and his alleged attacker seconds after it happened. "The teacher heard a noise that just didn't sound right."

Shelby High Principal Gary Kidwell called the attack an "unprovoked and brutal assault," and sent a letter home to parents informing them of what happened.

Some students reportedly saw the attack, and others seemed fearful after hearing about it. "It's just scary," said junior Meagan Sanders. "Because you don't go to school every day and some kid whacks you in the back of the head. I mean this was just on the way to class."

Perhaps the person most traumatized by the potentially deadly assault other than Justin is his mother, Laurie. "God was with him," she said. "He was laying in that puddle of blood and he told me he thought he was going to die. When your kid's telling you that, it's upsetting."

Fortunately, it doesn't look like Justin will suffer any permanent damage as a result of the attack, and hospital officials have ruled out a concussion. Justin says he's looking forward to getting out of the hospital and back on the football field.

Laurie told us that she had warned school officials as well as police that her son was being harassed at school by his alleged attacker, but was told police needed a specific allegation to act on.

The 17-year-old senior is being held at the Hardin County Detention Center and is charged with attempted murder.

Online Reporter: James Zambroski

Online Producer: Michael Dever