Juvenile crime has been going upand its turning more violent. Very young offenders are showing up with guns in their hands. KGUN 9 talked to County Attorney Laura Conover about what she sees as the best approach to turn dangerous kids around.

What happened last weekend, at a convenience store at 22nd and Pantano put a sharp point on a dangerous trend.

Tucson Police say a 12 year old showed up there and pointed a gun at two men. They had their own guns. There was a gun fight that killed the 12 year old and left a 54 year old man in critical condition.

Pima County Attorney Laura Conover says over the last three years theres been a surge in crime by young peopleincluding violent crime with guns.

We are trying to reverse course on that.

She says even with very serious crimes, she is committed to keeping young offenders in the juvenile justice systemand not prosecute them as adults where a conviction will send them to adult prison.

She says, Brain science is clear. They are not adults, number one, number two, the adult system is absolutely not equipped to handle them in any way. They’re not equipped to educate them, or give them any resources at all.

Conover says keeping kids out of adult prisons keeps them in an environment where they can get counseling, and education.

Where the adult system just chews them up, frankly, teaches them how to be an adult engaged in criminal behavior, and then spits them back out onto our streets with really no other options. We’re trying to get to a different result.

State law does require adult prosecution for serious offenders who are at least fifteen years old.

Conover says her office is trying to prevent juvenile crime in the first place with what she calls violence interruption programs.

What I mean by that very simply as we’re looking at kids who have been exposed to violent crime, and trying to intervene and get at that percentage of kids who have been exposed to a violent crime or victimized by a violent crime and their likelihood of ending up perpetrating violent crime later.