A suspect in Friday’s shooting at a Philadelphia school will be charged as an adult, say police.
17-year-old Raishem Rochwell has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault in addition to some lesser offenses. He remains in police custody at this time on $500,000 bond.
Rochwell, accompanied by his attorney, reportedly turned himself in on Saturday afternoon. A warrant had been issued for his arrest at that time.
According to police, surveillance cameras recorded the entire incident. There were reportedly seven students in the school’s gym at the time of the shooting.when one student apparently pulled out a handgun and it fired once. Police say that the shooting may have been accidental and that suspects quickly fled the scene.
Two students were injured in the incident that occurred on Friday afternoon just as school was letting out for the day. An 18-year-old female was treated for wounds she suffered as a result of a bullet striking her bicep. She was subsequently released. The same bullet also hit a male student in the shoulder. He reportedly remains hospitalized and in stable condition at this time.
Rochwell is the third suspect to be taken into custody in connection with the shooting at Philadelphia’s Delaware Valley Charter High School, but the first to be charged. Police working with school security officers initially arrested a 15-year-old boy at his home following the shooting but he was quickly questioned and it was determined that he “absolutely did not have any involvement in this incident.” Police announced that they had received “inaccurate information” from the school security officers working at the “intense scene” and that the initially arrested student had been “completely cleared” of any connection to the shooting.
Following that initial erroneous arrest, police were able to identify two additional suspects after viewing surveillance video of the incident and conducting interviews with witnesses. They then executed search warrants for the two suspects’ homes.
The first of those additional two suspects reportedly turned himself in accompanied by his family on Friday night. He was held in custody and questioned overnight before being released on Saturday afternoon. No charges have been filed against that 17-year-old unnamed suspect at this time.
Rochwell is the second of the additional suspects identified by police viewing surveillance video of the incident. His next court appearance will be to request a reduction in his bond. His attorney reports that the young man does not have any prior criminal record and stated that it is clear that the incident was not malicious. He went on to say “It’s our position that it certainly had no connection to the young man that they now have in custody.”
Police, parents and students attending the school are wondering how the shooter managed to get the weapon into the school which is equipped with metal detectors. Charter schools are widely considered to be safer than the public schools in Philadelphia, but this is the second incident of a gun being brought into one in less than a week in the city. As details about the incident and the 17-year-old suspect charged as an adult in this Philadelphia school shooting emerge, perhaps they will get the answers they are looking for.
By Michele Wessel