Philadelphia police report that a second teen suspected in connection with a shooting at Delaware Valley Charter High School in Philadelphia has surrendered to authorities.
Police say that the 17-year-old will be charged with two counts of aggravated assault and may be charged as an adult, at which time his identity would be released to the public. Charges have not yet been approved against another suspect who turned himself in on Friday night, say police.
Two students were injured in what police said at one point may have been an accidental shooting at the school on Friday afternoon. 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.
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. A student at the Philadelphia school apparently pulled out a handgun and it fired once.
Working with school security officers, police initially arrested a 15-year-old male student who was said to have “fled the scene” at his home on Friday night. They later announced that they had received “inaccurate information” from the school security officers working at the “intense scene” and that it was clear that the student “absolutely did not have any involvement in this incident.” Police say that the initially arrested student has been “completely cleared” of any connection to or responsibility for the shooting.
The police were then able to identify the 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.
Police and parents of 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 to one in less than a week in the city.
Just days earlier, students at the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) at the Dubois Collegiate Academy in Philadelphia reported that a male student was in possession of a handgun at the school. The school does not have metal detectors like Delaware Valley Charter High School. The student was taken into custody by police.
In addition to the two gun-related incidents at Philadelphia charter schools this week, another incident at a public school resulted in injuries to a city police officer and a school district official. That incident involved a fight at a bus stop among “a large group of students.” Several students were taken into police custody following the battle.
A rash of school shootings in recent weeks has reignited questions of school safety and gun control measures not just in Philadelphia, but around the country. As details emerge about the two teen suspects in this latest school shooting, those questions are sure to remain in the forefront of the minds of parents, students and teachers as they go forward.
By Michele Wessel