In Baltimore, there are at least a couple of high-profile juvenile killings each year. In 1994, a 10-year-old was charged with murder for shooting his best friend with a shotgun. He lived three blocks from this week's suspect.
In 2003, 88 juveniles under age 15 were charged across the country with murder or non-negligent manslaughter, according to FBI statistics. In 1996, there were 257 such arrests.
Prosecutors typically decide whether to pursue adult charges against a suspect within six to eight weeks of the suspect's arrest, said Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the city state's attorney's office.
If the shooting had occurred after the boy's 14th birthday, on July 28, he would have automatically been charged as an adult.
Prosecutors can seek adult status for children charged at any age with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, rape, attempted rape or a first-degree sex offenses.
Burns said they base their decisions on the age of the suspect, his mental and physical condition, his amenability to treatment, the nature of the offense and his participation, and the interests of public safety.
If they decide to pursue adult charges, they will have to file a motion with a juvenile judge.
The boy's mother intends to visit him today at the juvenile justice center downtown.
"Maybe he'll say exactly what happened," she said, "because right now I don't know."