Eric Bratton, 24, of Kansas City, Mo., solemnly entered a Jackson County courtroom in silence Wednesday morning. Bratton faced a judge for the first time, four days after police say he shot two teenagers at Independence Center.
Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker says it all started with a confrontation. She says Bratton made remarks about a teenage girl's buttocks in the mall parking lot.
After a brief physical confrontation with the girl's boyfriend, the young couple made it inside the mall. Officials say Bratton caught up with them in the mall corridor near Sears, pulled out a .45 caliber handgun and shot the teens.
The girl suffered injuries to her foot and the boy was shot in his leg. A third bullet narrowly missed his head.
"Mr. Bratton made a bad decision and he's going to pay for that very bad decision," said Peters Baker.
Bratton faces first and second degree assault charges and two counts of armed criminal action. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
"I'm thrilled that Mr. Bratton is not on the streets today. I'm thrilled that he won't have the opportunity again," said Peters Baker.
Bratton is in custody on $500,000 bond. His next court date is February 1.
The victims are recovering at home, according to their lawyer. He says they are not ready to make comments yet.
Authorities say Bratton and his victims were strangers and that he acted alone.