Charges bound over in shooting of 13-year-old

LAWRENCEVILLE — The man charged with January’s accidental shooting death of a 13-year-old Lawrenceville boy told police he was intoxicated and firing shots into the air for no reason, officials testified Wednesday.

Joshua Banks, 25, was present for his probable cause hearing in Gwinnett Magistrate Court, as Cpl. Dennis Hennely of Gwinnett police’s homicide unit recounted details from the Jan. 18 shooting.

According to Hennely, Banks and a group of five others gathered in a parking lot outside the Holland Park apartment complex that night, “being loud and boisterous” as they reportedly met to exchange money for stolen property.

Members of that group — all known habitual criminals — told investigators that a “highly intoxicated” Banks began playing with the .40-caliber, semi-automatic pistol of a friend, repeatedly racking it before firing shots into the air unprovoked, Hennely said.

One of the approximately six shots struck 13-year-old Tre Shambry in the chest as he peered through a second-story window, killing him.

“The other rounds we believe went over the building,” Hennely testified Wednesday.

Banks, with a long rap sheet in Gwinnett, was already in jail on unrelated burglary and theft charges when police tacked on counts of felony murder and possession of a firearm by a felon in July.

The charges were bound over Wednesday as new details came to light.

Citing interviews with parties involved in the parking lot rendezvous and others, Hennely told Judge Robert Walker’s court that Banks ran with a group of criminals involved in “large scale” drug operations. Banks reportedly confessed to the accidental shooting.

“He knew his actions did cause the death of that child” when the bullet pierced the window of Shambry’s bedroom, hitting his aortic artery, Hennely said.

Defense attorney Jennifer Daniels ceded that Wednesday’s probable cause hearing was neither the time nor the place, but argued that a murder charge was not befitting for her client’s deadly, yet by all accounts accidental, actions.

“We certainly have great arguments as to why it’s involuntary manslaughter rather than felony murder,” she said.