West Liberty-Salem High gunman sentenced

West Liberty-Salem High gunman sentenced

Back in January of 2017, 17-year-old Ely Ray Serna entered West Liberty-Salem High School in West Liberty, Ohio, armed with a shotgun. Serna ended up shooting 16-year-old Logan Cole in the chest. Cole required extensive surgeries and had a shotgun pellet lodged near his heart. Thankfully, Logan Cole survived his injuries.

Serna was charged as an adult and was expected to go to trial, however, back in early April of this year, Serna pleaded guilty to attempted murder, felonious assault and inducing panic. Earlier today, Serna was sentenced to 23 1/2 years behind bars.

When asked by the sentencing judge if there was any reason behind the shooting Serna was said to have replied, “I can’t say I was angry about anybody or anything, I didn’t have anybody targeted.” I doubt that’s true at all. No one goes into a school and shoots someone in the chest with a shotgun unless they were angry or deranged. My guess is, after shooting Cole in the chest, Serna lost his nerve, even offering Cole the shotgun and asking Cole to shoot him. If anything, Serna was probably just another copycat looking to be ‘famous’. The problem with so many copycats is their names tend to be forgotten. For every Adam Lanza or Eric Harris, there are several Ely Sernas whose names will be forgotten over time, as they should be.

West Liberty-Salem High gunman wanted victim to shoot him

West Liberty-Salem High gunman wanted victim to shoot him

As an update to the shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School in Ohio, a second person was also injured in the shooting, but was said to have injuries that were not life threatening.

This past Monday, gunman Ely Ray Serna was in court and denied the charges, which I imagine is the juvenile equivalent of pleading not guilty. His attorney actually requested that he be allowed to return to his home with his parents. Thankfully, the judge ordered him held in juvenile detention for now, noting that the shooting “involved significant planning.”

Serna’s sister says that her brother is not a monster, but is unclear what his motive may have been.

Now, in a new Sheriff’s report that was released today, Serna allegedly apologized to Logan Cole after shooting him. Then Serna reportedly offered the gun to Cole and asked him to pull the trigger while the shotgun was pointed at Serna’s forehead. Cole is said to have refused the offer. The 17-year-old gunman then kicked the gun across the floor before being apprehended by school staff.

I can honestly say that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a school shooter offering his victim some form of restitution, not to mention showing signs of regret in the middle of their spree. In my opinion this doesn’t seem like the typical school shooting where the gunman is seeking some kind of fame or retribution. To me it seems more like he was trying to commit suicide by cop then lost his nerve after shooting Logan Cole. That in no way should be seen as an excuse for his actions. He shot Logan Cole twice with a 12 gauge shotgun at close range, once in the chest and again in the arm. For committing such a wanton act of violence he should be tried as an adult. That decision could be made as early as this coming Friday when Serna returns to court.

UPDATE 1/28/2017: Victim Logan Cole is said to have a shotgun pellet in his heart. While the injury is not life threatening at present, if left untreated could cause a heart infection.

This is said to be the GoFundMe set up for Logan Cole by his father.

UPDATE 2/3/2017: Today in court, a judge ordered a competency hearing for Serna, and that he remain in juvenile detention for now.

UPDATE 2/6/2017: Logan Cole has been released from the hospital, and is now home. His father states that he is still at risk of infection due to the shotgun pellets that they couldn’t retrieve.

UPDATE 2/17/2017: Logan Cole has returned to class, but is currently wearing a brace on his torso that should be removed within months.

UPDATE 6/12/2017: Serna will be tried as an adult, and his bond has been set at $1 million.

UPDATE 6/15/2017: A judge has ordered the trial to start on August 21st and has made it known he wants the trial to conclude before the start of the school year so there can be closure.

UPDATE 6/25/2017: Serna has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. I can’t wait for the reasoning behind this one. Take a drink if they mention Asperger’s.

UPDATE 7/13/2017: Serna has been transferred to a psychiatric facility.

Ohio school shooting injures one, shooter in custody

Ohio school shooting injures one, gunman in custody

Earlier today a 17-year-old gunman opened fire at West Liberty High School in West Liberty, Ohio. The school is actually known as West Liberty-Salem Middle /High School but for the sake of convenience I’ll use the former.

The as yet unidentified gunman is said to have fired several shotgun rounds through walls and windows of the school. A few of those shots struck 16-year-old Logan Cole who is said to be in stable condition. Cole was not the intended target according to police but no motive has been released as of yet. School staff were able to pin the shooter to the ground until police arrived. Police also searched the home of the shooter but it has not yet been reported if anything has been seized. So far the suspect has been charged as a juvenile with felonious assault.

As I was reading the reports of the shooting I kept running across one particular quote that always seems to make it into articles regarding the initial reports of a school shooting…

“Especially in … such a small town like this, where you pretty much know everyone who lives in the town, you just never think that stuff like this is going to happen,” she said.

I guess we have to go over the list again don’t we? Did anyone ever know about Littleton, Colorado, before Columbine or Newtown, Connecticut, before Sandy Hook? Even in Ohio, did anyone ever heard of Chardon before the shooting at Chardon High that left three dead? There is no ‘it can’t happen here’.

I’ll post more details as they become available and as time allows.

Columbus Dispatch
CBS News
ABC News

UPDATE 1/21/2017: The shooter has been identified as Ely Ray Serna. He is facing charges of attempted murder, felonious assault, improperly discharging a firearm, inducing panic and bringing a deadly weapon into a school safety zone. Prosecutors are saying that he may be charged as an adult. In my opinion he should be absolutely charged as an adult.

Also, it seems the school with many names is mostly known as West Liberty-Salem High School which is how I will refer to it going forward.