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Cops arrest 1 in attack with bleach

LILBURN -- Lilburn police have arrested and charged the 16-year-old alleged ringleader of last week's prank-gone-wrong that left a Lilburn Middle School student battling for his eyesight.

According to police, four Meadowcreek High School students in a 2008 Nissan Quest randomly targeted 14-year-old Miguel Mesa last Wednesday, hitting him in the face with a bleach-filled water balloon and blasting him with more of the caustic chemical using a Super Soaker water gun.

After an outpouring of tips from the community, Lilburn police spokesman Capt. Bruce Hedley said, the driver of the vehicle has been identified and charged with aggravated battery.

"We served two search warrants, one of the residence and one of the van (of the suspect)," Hedley said. "We were able to obtain several crucial pieces of evidence, including but not limited to" the actual bleach bottle believed to be used in the attack and the Super Soaker.

The suspect, whose name Hedley said he could not release, gave a full confession and has helped identify the three other suspects in the case.

Walking home on the last day of his seventh-grade year last week, Mesa was randomly targeted in "supposedly a high school prank that led to a very serious crime being committed," as the suspects were attempting to merely "ruin the clothes of people walking down the sidewalk," Hedley said.

After being hit with the bleach balloon, Mesa was treated at Gwinnett Medical Center for severe burns to his face and damage to his eyes.

Specific medical details were not released, but Mesa's condition has not improved since the incident, Hedley said.

"We do know that he has not retained full function of either eye, and we don't know if he ever will," he said. "What we do know from what the father is telling us is that his son's eyesight is in grave danger."

The remaining suspects had not been charged as of Wednesday evening. Depending on what direct role they played, Hedley said, the trio of Meadowcreek students could face similar charges as the driver.

"We know where they are, we know who they are, we're just waiting to put together the rest of the puzzle and determine what our next move is going to be," Hedley said.