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Police, court disagree over the release of teens 'armed with modified guns' connected with City Foundry car break-ins

"Procedures by the St. Louis City Family Court's intake staff and the city police weren't followed," said Joel Currier, of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court.

ST. LOUIS — During an interview with 5 On Your Side on Monday, Gail Watkins, with Mothers Advocating Safe Streets made a comment on the minds of many.

"It just baffles me to put them back into the hands of their parents," Watkins said.

She's talking about two teens St. Louis police arrested after car break-ins outside the City Foundry Saturday night.

Police said a passenger in a car repeatedly fired a rifle in the direction of three teen boys and two police officers.

Police told us a 15-year-old boy had a Glock 29 equipped with an auto sear on him. That made the gun fully automatic. Officers also said they found a stolen, Glock 19 on a 16-year-old boy.

"Three young people were arrested as a result of that," Dan Isom, the director of public safety, said.

However, Joel Currier, the chief communications officer for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court said procedures weren't followed.

"The court has determined that procedures by the St. Louis Family Court's intake staff and the city police weren't followed with regards to the youths held in connection with gunfire Saturday near the City Foundry," Currier said in an emailed statement.

"The police did not bring them to juvenile court for detention. No juvenile illegal officer or judge was contacted regarding the incident. Instead, a phone call occurred between the intake office and a police officer. The parties disagree as to the content of the conversation. As of [Jan. 24], none of the juveniles has been brought to St. Louis City Family Court for referral, detention or charges. Once police present the youths, a juvenile officer will review the evidence for legal sufficiency and assess them for detention pursuant to Missouri statutes and Supreme Court rules," Currier said. 

As a result, the teens were released to their parents.

Tuesday afternoon a Public Safety Department spokesperson said in a statement: 

"SLMPD officers followed longstanding precedent when calling the Family Court's intake staff to report apprehended juveniles just as the Family Court's intake staff followed longstanding precedent by telling officers to release them to their parents."

St. Louis University Criminology Professor Dr. Kenya Brumfield-Young said, normally, in juvenile cases a young person is taken by the police to the juvenile detention center and screening is performed at intake.

"What I'll say is the public safety division has done its job," Isom said.

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