Northern High School freshman hurt in fight

Dispute between groups escalates

15-year-old in critical condition

November 10, 2001|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

An argument between two groups of youths spilled out of Baltimore's Northern High School yesterday morning and escalated into a violent brawl, severely injuring a freshman.

By the time city and school police arrived, 15-year-old Willis Reese was lying on pavement about 100 yards from the school's entrance, suffering from a fractured skull.

Reese, who lives in the 5300 block of Midwood Ave., was listed in critical condition last night at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The fight broke out about 9 a.m. yesterday as classes were beginning, police spokesman Kevin Enright said.

"We believe it was related to an ongoing neighborhood dispute that had flared up two or three times this week," Enright said. "It started as an argument and spilled out down the street to about 100 yards from the school entrance. The words then became a brawl ... and the brawl became exceptionally violent."

When the fight broke up and both groups fled, Reese was left on the ground after being kicked and punched, Enright said.

Reese was apparently a member of one of the groups involved in the fight, Enright said.

Though police had not made any arrests last night, they believe all the youths are between 15 and 18 years old - some of them students at Northern and others ex-students or neighborhood youths.

Baltimore school officials had no comment last night, referring all questions to city police.

In 1997, Northern highlighted problems in the city's neighborhood high schools when almost 1,200 students were suspended in one day. Since then, the school's reputation has improved, with increased standards for academics and discipline.

Enright said city and school police officers will have greater presence than usual at the school when students return to class next week.

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