Case of 17-year-old Accused of Shooting at Sheriff’s Deputies to be Moved to Juvenile Court

Case of 17-year-old Accused of Shooting at Sheriff’s Deputies to be Moved to Juvenile Court
(Photo by Kent Sievers - World-Herald News Service)

OMAHA – A 17-year-old accused of assaulting his parents and shooting at officers will be tried in juvenile court, a judge decided Tuesday.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine later said he will appeal the judge’s decision.

Tyler Pitzl’s attorney, James Martin Davis, says Pitzl doesn’t remember what happened Sept. 3, when prosecutors say Pitzl assaulted his parents and fired at Douglas County sheriff’s deputies outside the family home off U.S. Highway 275 south of Waterloo.

 Pitzl was shot during an exchange of gunfire with the deputies. He underwent surgery to repair damage to his colon and he lost a kidney, according to his father, Dennis Pitzl.

Tyler Pitzl later was released from the hospital and arrested.

Pitzl fired on deputies, hitting one, with a 12-gauge Winchester shotgun, prosecutors said. The deputy had minor injuries.

Pitzl had been charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder, second-degree assault and two counts of use of a weapon to commit a felony.

Douglas County Judge Marlon Polk ruled Tuesday that Pitzl’s case should be sent to juvenile court. Davis said after Tuesday’s hearing that he will have Pitzl admit to the charges so the court can decide on treatment for him.

His mother, Gail Pitzl, who testified for about an hour Tuesday, said she felt relieved.

Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning said the judge’s decision sends a bad message that a teen can shoot at law enforcement officers and end up in juvenile court: “Slap your hands and ‘Adios.'”

“We’re very disappointed,” Dunning said. “The judge didn’t read the reports. He did not go with the recommendation of the probation officer.”

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said he plans to appeal the judge’s ruling because Pitzl is about 14 months from turning 19, when he no longer will be considered a juvenile.