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HOUSTON The teen accused of shooting an off-duty Houston police officer Monday went before a judge Wednesday morning.

Patrick Carnell Freeman Jr. is charged with aggravating assault in the shooting of Officer Frank Pierce.

The officer remains hospitalized, but his condition has improved.

Freeman s mother, Cheryl Victorian, cried when she saw her son in court.

She said she tried to convince Freeman to return to school recently after he spent several months in jail for burglary.

He said, I m going to go ahead and go to school for you, Victorian said. And we had told him, Don t hang around those boys. Those boys don t mean you no good.

Victorian said one of the boys she d warned her son about was the 14-year-old who was allegedly with him when they were caught burglarizing an apartment Monday.

Officer Pierce, who lives at the complex, was shot twice in the abdomen when he confronted the suspects.

Family spokesperson Quanell X insisted that Freeman did not realize Pierce was an officer.

He did not know who was wrestling and attacking him, the community activist said. The guy had a gun on him and he [Freeman] panicked. That in no way condones an officer being shot.

Prosecutors aren t buying it.

He had uniform pants on, an undershirt with a badge on the breast, carrying his rain jacket, his police jacket and gear his police gear, said prosecutor Don Smyth. No one would mistake him for anything other than a police officer.

Freeman s parents said their thoughts are also with the officer and his family.

We re praying for the officer, said Freeman s father.

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