Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Another goddamned school shooting.
Gunmen armed with an AK-47 rifle and a handgun opened fire in a packed high school gymnasium in America, killing a 15-year-old boy and wounding three teenage girls in a spray of more than 30 bullets that sent students scrambling for cover.
Four suspects, ranging in age from 15 to 19, were arrested in a sweep of the neighbourhood near John McDonogh High School in New Orleans, about two kilometres north of the French Quarter. Police Chief Eddie Compass said he did not know if the suspects attended the school.
At least 200 students were in the gymnasium when the four suspects entered the building. The victim was apparently seated on the bleachers with other students when the gunmen confronted him. They shot repeatedly, striking the victim in the head and body and sending panicked students screaming. [...]
Word of the shooting swept through the school where many students had radios and mobile phones. In the computer class, students used their internet terminals to read reports of the shooting.
Parents rushed to the school only to find their way blocked by the police lines. Darlene Claiborn said her daughter called her from inside a classroom on a mobile phone.
"How can this happen in a school?" she demanded. "They have guards in there. They're supposed to have security."
Anthony Amato, school system superintendent who has been on the job only since February, tried to calm parents by saying that officers had swept through the school and that the students were safe. He was repeatedly interrupted by cries of "where was the guard?"