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Mom: Boy in psychiatric care after being shot by woman

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Margaret Matthews looks around her back door as her step-son, Pastor Gerald Hamilton, makes a statement to the media on her behalf about the shooting incident.

A 12-year-old boy who was shot by an elderly South Shore homeowner after he allegedly threw bricks at her is in psychiatric care, recovering from the trauma of being shot, his mother said Tuesday.

The boy, who allegedly terrorized his neighborhood for months, did not appear in juvenile court alongside his alleged 13-year-old accomplice Tuesday morning because he has been in the hospital since Oct. 3. That is less than a week after he was shot in the shoulder outside the woman's home on the 7600 block of South Cole, his mother told Judge Andrew Berman.

"You're gonna have vigilantes all over the city taking matters into their own hands,'' the boy's mother said after the hearing. "A 12-year-old boy getting shot- Wouldn't you be traumatized- ''

Berman ordered the 13-year-old not to have any contact with Margaret Matthews, 68, who shot his friend. Standing well below five-feet tall and wearing a white polo shirt in front of the judge, the teenager quietly confirmed his identity and said his only contact with his father is by phone. His mother told the judge the boy's father does not support the family financially.

Both boys are charged with aggravated assault; Matthews is being treated as the victim by police and has not been charged.

The boys had allegedly victimized Matthews and her neighbors for months - setting her barbecue pit on fire, vandalizing her yard and insulting her - before she finally snapped and shot the boy, neighbors said at the time.

Speaking outside her home Tuesday afternoon, Matthews said she prays for the boy every night and is glad he's being treated because "he needs help."

"He must have been traumatized before this all happened to be behaving that way as a 12-year-old," she said. "I've been traumatized by what happened - I can't sleep at night."

Supporters have sent her dozens of cards and messages of support but she has not heard from either boy's family or seen either boy since the shooting, she said.

She added, "nothing would give me greater joy than to see that boy walking down the street with a new direction in life."