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Heritage High School shooter sentenced to 10 years behind bars

He's been in jail since September 2021, and the judge did take into account that time served when giving him the sentence. He has nine years left to serve.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Friday, a Newport News judge sentenced Jacari Taylor to 10 years for a double shooting at Heritage High School last year.

He's been in jail since his September 2021 arrest, and the judge did take into account that time served when giving him the sentence. That means he has nine years left to serve, of the 10.

Back in April, Taylor pleaded guilty to the shooting that hurt two students.

He was 15 years old when he opened fire after a school fight. A teenage boy was "shot multiple times" and a girl was shot in the lower leg, police said.

Taylor's sentence is "blended," meaning he'll spend the next five years in a Department of Juvenile Justice correctional center, and after he turns 21, will be transferred to an adult prison.

The judge said the shooting at Heritage High School last September was "a situation that could have been far, far worse."

The now 16-year-old, Taylor admitted to bringing a gun inside the school and shooting two students while dozens of other students walked through the hallway.

The prosecutor said Taylor showed remorse and took responsibility by pleading guilty, but said his actions disrupted the sense of safety within the high school.

Taylor's attorneys asked for a minimum sentence of only two years. They said Taylor acted out of fear because he knew someone would pick a fight with him.

His father testified at his sentencing hearing on Friday, as well as his probation officer from a previous conviction.

His father told the court his son is a quiet, goofy average teenager, adding, "He [Jacari] was fine unless someone was bothering him." 

His father told the judge he didn't want to make any excuses for his son but explained how he had a tough life during his younger years.

Taylor also wrote a letter to the judge, saying he didn't mean for the shooting to happen when he entered school property.  He said hurting people doesn't make him happy or give him confidence and he's ready to take "a massive turn on life."

Prior to the September incident, Taylor served time in a juvenile detention center and on probation in connection to a separate malicious wounding charge dating back to the Summer of 2020.

His attorneys said he completed his time served on that charge.

Taylor's family members declined to speak after the sentencing.

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