Margaret Matthews, a 68-year-old woman living in Chicago’s Southeast Side, picked up a gun Tuesday night and shot a 12-year-old boy in the arm.
The upshot? The boy was cited for a misdemeanor crime – while she wasn’t charged with any wrongdoing.
Matthews, neighbors say, was the target of constant harassment from the 12-year-old – a ringleader of a group of kids who allegedly vandalized Matthews’s home, broke items in her shed and even set her garbage on fire.
“I would say [the kids] were bulling her,” neighbor Frenchie Johnson told local TV station CBS2. “She stayed there by herself. They know that. And she’s one of the ladies that, she stands up for herself.”
Throwing bricks through her window, however, was the final straw for Matthews, who also called police; they reported to the scene, but the 12-year-old boy returned to her house after they left, according to reports.
That’s when the shooting occurred.
“I think she gave them as much warning as I think she could,” said neighbor, Rafael Ramirez.
Acting in Self Defense
Matthews was released from police custody without being charged on the grounds that she acted in self-defense, CBS2 reports. But the boy and his 13-year-old friend have been cited with one count each of misdemeanor aggravated assault to a senior citizen, according to police.
The 12-year-old was released from the hospital on Wednesday.
But the boy’s grandmother, Donna Virges, disputes the version of events, saying the two adolescents were simply “walking down the street, and they saw a window broken at a woman’s house and as they passed by, they said she came out shooting.”
Other neighbors are also skeptical about accusations the boy was a bully.
“He wasn’t the type of little boy to do that, to throw a brick in an old lady’s window like that,” one said.
If convicted on the charges, the 12-year-old could be placed in juvenile detention for up to a year.