Teen is shot outside Lake Clifton High 16-year-old is listed in good condition

police have no suspects

September 28, 1995|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A 16-year-old student walking to Lake Clifton-Eastern High School yesterday morning was shot outside the building's auditorium after he argued with a group of teen-agers, Baltimore police said.

John Williams, a sophomore, was hit in the left armpit by one of possibly five bullets fired from a handgun, police said. He was listed in good condition yesterday at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Police arrested two youngsters seen running into the woods of Clifton Park after the shooting, but released them later after concluding they were not involved.

"We have no idea what it was about," said Stanley E. Holmes, the school's principal. "We don't know whether they knew each other. None of that information has surfaced."

Though statistics for the 1994-1995 school year indicate more than 1,500 assaults on students and faculty members, shootings are rare on school property while students are present.

The last such incident occurred at Northern High in January when a 22-year-old man was killed and another man was wounded in a shootout near the main entrance moments after classes had ended for the day.

Yesterday's incident brought concerned parents to Lake Clifton in the 2800 block of St. Lo Drive who wanted to know if their children were safe. "This school is terrible," said Pat Foster, who heard about the shooting on the radio and was checking on her 16-year-old nephew.

School officials said the Williams youth was an hour late to school -- which begins at 8:30 a.m. -- when he and a friend walked by three other teens standing at the northeast side of the building.

Officer Charles Steele of the Northeastern District said the armed youth challenged the victim and his friend to a fight by yelling, "Do you want to get it on?" The officer said the Williams youth was shot as he took off his shirt.

"It wasn't anything major," Officer Steele said. "It was just two guys passing three guys, and that was it."

The youngsters scattered, with several running across a student parking lot and into the woods. Two were caught after being spotted by officers in a police helicopter, but were released. No other arrests have been made.

"I didn't know what to think," said Gene McKoy, 53, a school system maintenance worker who was repairing a sidewalk around the corner and heard the shots. "I just started to take cover. I didn't know what else to do."

Mr. Holmes said he made an announcement to the school's 2,400 students explaining what happened and reminding them to report any student who has a weapon.

Students were held over briefly in one class until police had secured the scene.

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