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Published: Wednesday, 7/1/2009

Detroit school official meets with families of shot teens

DETROIT Parents of five students wounded during a shooting at a bus stop have been guaranteed by the school district s top official that their children s studies will not be interrupted.

Emergency financial manager Robert Bobb met Tuesday evening with families of five of the seven teenagers shot following classes at Cody Ninth Grade Academy and told them educational materials and any other arrangements necessary will be made available for their homes, schools spokesman Steve Wasko said Wednesday.

Bobb spoke with the families at two area hospitals where the teens were being treated. Two of the seven shot were in critical condition.

Meanwhile, police continue to search for two men suspected of opening fire on the group Tuesday afternoon following summer school classes at the school.

It is at least the second shooting incident in or near a Detroit school this year and the third within the past eight months.

A 17-year-old non-student was charged in February with assault with intent to murder in a shooting at Central High School. Two other non-students were shot in the school s hallway following an earlier altercation.

A 16-year-old Henry Ford student was shot to death and two other students wounded Oct. 20 outside the high school. That shooting followed a fight inside the school.

Two 18-year-olds and a 15-year-old have been charged with murder in that case.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy issued a statement Wednesday expressing outrage at violence involving young people in Detroit.

I have never understood why it takes a crisis like multiple children shot in this community for people to get outraged; for people to say, Enough! ; for everyone to really sit up and pay attention, Worthy wrote.

Is one child shot enough? Apparently not. That happens frequently in Detroit and in other places in Wayne County. We see a child shot down on the news and we take another bite of our cereal. We are that immune to violence in this town.

Worthy said her office was to meet Wednesday with county officials about a school and gang violence proposal she submitted two years ago to the Wayne County Commission. The plan has been mothballed because funds for it are not available, Worthy said.

Article appeared in earlier editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

7 teens shot in Detroit as summer students depart

By IGNAZIO MESSINA

BLADE STAFF WRITER

DETROIT - Two masked gunmen opened fire Tuesday on a group of summer school students waiting for a bus in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood - sending people running and screaming at a busy intersection.

Seven teenagers, five of whom had just left Cody Ninth Grade Academy, where they were taking summer school classes, were shot near a gas station along the busy Southfield Freeway.

"It was total chaos and people were running everywhere," said Ramy Hakim, whose family owns the gas station where the shooting occurred.

"I heard about five or seven gunshots and I saw commotion. It was chaos for about 10 minutes," young Hakim, 17, said. "After the shooters left, lots of people just started crowding around the people who were shot on the ground."

Four boys and three girls ranging in age from 14 to 17 were hospitalized. Two of them - a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl - were in critical condition, said Deputy Chief James Tolbert. Police did not know the motive for the shooting.

The wounded teens finished summer classes for the day at Cody Ninth Grade Academy shortly before the shootings occurred. The wounded teens finished summer classes for the day at Cody Ninth Grade Academy shortly before the shootings occurred.
JETTA FRASER Enlarge

"Someone was targeted, but to say all seven were targeted, I wouldn't say that," Chief Tolbert said.

The shooting was captured on video by the gas station's surveillance cameras, which were collected by police along with at least 12 shell casings at the scene.

The Hakim youth said the two shooters could be seen in the video running from an adjacent funeral home with shirts covering their faces.

"They ran right in between pumps four and five and they pulled out their guns," he said. "They were just shooting people randomly."

Gas station owner Steve Hakim said he saw two people with T-shirts covering their heads run across his lot toward the bus stop. Then he heard about 10 gunshots, saw a boy and a girl fall down, and he called 911.

"It's pretty scary," Mr. Hakim said. "Somebody's got to do something."

Another summer school student, 15-year-old Bria Wilson, said she was standing at the bus stop when she heard the gunfire.

She said she was facing away from the gunmen and ran away after the shots were fired. But she saw a 16-year-old male friend lying on the ground, bleeding.

"They were so close - it almost hit me," she said.

Detroit Public Schools spokesman Steve Wasko said there was "nothing that we're aware of at this time" linking the shootings with any dispute at the school.

He said the shootings happened about 2:15 p.m., about 15 minutes after summer school students were dismissed for the day.

Imam Abdullah El-Amin, who co-owns the Numan Funeral Home near the intersection where the shooting took place, said drug-dealing, prostitution, and "hopelessness" are common in the area.

"It's terrible that these things are just laying there, festering, in society - time bombs waiting to happen," said Mr. El-Amin, a Muslim cleric and candidate for Detroit City Council.

Vernest Scott, who lives with his wife and son in an adjacent apartment building, said the school is known for violence.

"I am really looking to move out of here," he said. "When something happens like this to someone's children, it's terrible."

Mr. Scott said police are constantly called to the neighborhood, which is in Detroit's southwest section.

Detroit Public Schools Police Chief Roderick Grimes said the gunmen exited a vehicle and "asked for a person by name" before opening fire at the crowd.

Police spokesman Rod Liggons said officers were looking for two suspects in a green minivan.

Jean Barth, 27, who lives nearby, said the school and the neighborhood are violence-plagued.

"There was a shooting a couple of streets over just recently and there are fights all of the time," Ms. Barth said.

The students were attending school in the Ruddiman Middle School building, 7350 Southfield Freeway, which houses the Cody Ninth Grade Academy.

Four of the teens were taken to Henry Ford Hospital. Police were interviewing some of the victims in the hospital last night, authorities said.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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