17-year-old charged as an adult over school shooting in Philadelphia
By Joe Mandak, AP
January 20, 2014, 12:11 am TWN
Police charged a boy with aggravated assault and related crimes on Saturday in connection with a shooting that wounded two students inside a Philadelphia high school gymnasium, but released a second boy from custody without charging him.
Raisheem Rochwell, 17, was being held on US$500,000 bail after he was charged as an adult and arraigned Saturday night, said police spokesman Lt. John Stanford. Stanford said Rochwell turned himself in earlier Saturday.
Rochwell faces adult charges including aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and firearms offenses. His attorney wasn't immediately listed in court documents.
Police didn't identify the boy who was released. He had surrendered Friday night, hours after the 3:30 p.m. shooting at the Delaware Valley Charter High School in north Philadelphia.
It remained unclear Saturday whether the shooting was accidental or intentional.
“A quick response by Philadelphia police allowed officers to immediately secure the school and determine this was not an active shooter incident,” police said.
The wounded boy and girl each were shot in an arm, and by Saturday police confirmed that both had been hit by the same bullet.
The female student, 18, was shot in the rear of her left arm. “The bullet exited her bicep and then struck a 17-year-old male student in the shoulder,” police said.
The female student was treated for her injuries and released from Albert Einstein Medical Center, while the male victim was admitted in stable condition, police said. The hospital could not provide additional information Saturday because police had not released the male victim's name.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said police didn't know what staffing or security procedures were in place at the school but said “there was a breakdown in security of some kind” because the gun got into the building.
The school was placed on lockdown and secured by SWAT officers checking each room. Students were searched and released one by one.
A spokesman for the school district didn't immediately respond to a call seeking comment. The president of the charter school's board of trustees said he didn't have any additional information about the shooting.
Police said the suspects ran away after the shooting, and were identified after police reviewed school surveillance video. Police have yet to recover the weapon.
School officials and security officials initially identified a third student, 15, as a possible suspect.
“However investigators concluded that school security officials had provided inaccurate information to police concerning this young man, and he absolutely did not have any involvement in this incident,” police said in one statement Saturday. “He was released and absolutely cleared by investigators.”