A boy who isn't old enough to drive or vote was caught on surveillance video over the weekend using a stolen rifle to rob a Smith County convenience store.
It was part of a crime spree that kept police busy for much of Sunday after officers said the 12-year-old also stole his parents' truck, then got into a standoff with officers at a cemetery.
Carthage Police Chief John Hogan said surveillance photos show the seventh-grade boy staring at the camera while pointing the rifle at a clerk at a Citgo convenience store on Highway 25.
"The clerk put up a fight and told the juvenile to leave, and he did leave, got back in the vehicle and left the scene," Hogan said.
The boy, whose identity has not been released, has been held at a detention facility in Cookeville and appeared Monday in juvenile court.
The boy's parents say they last saw him at around 11 p.m. Saturday when they went to bed. But, sometime early Sunday morning, police believe the boy stole his parents' pickup truck, drove to the convenience store and then ditched the truck at Smith County High School.
The chain of events became even more bizarre when police found the boy hiding in the branches of a cedar tree in a cemetery not far from the school.
It then took hours to talk him out of the tree, put him in handcuffs and lock him up.
Even employees at the convenience store expressed empathy Monday for the parents of the boy, who has been in trouble before.
While no one would go on camera, there are many who say someone could have been killed with that rifle - if not the clerk, then the child himself.
Now, there are mixed feelings about what should happen to the boy.
"In my tenure as a police officer, I have not dealt with this kind of crime from a 12-year-old. They're usually 15 or 16, so this is surprising to me," Hogan said.
In the last few weeks, the boy has been involved in incidents such as jumping out of a school bus and escaping from his mother's car at a McDonald's drive-through.
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