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Father of Pennsylvania School Shooting Victim Hold Press Conference

Aired March 8, 2001 - 12:26 p.m. ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go now to Danville, Pennsylvania. We want to show you a press conference right now -- where Michael Marchese, who is the father of the little girl in Pennsylvania who was shot at school yesterday.


MICHAEL MARCHESE, VICTIM'S FATHER: ... she was alert, conscious and everything. I asked her what happened. She said she was in the lunchroom; she said the next thing she knew she heard a bang or a shot or something -- she didn't know what it was. Next thing she knows, she said her arm went down. Then I was told she had ran over across the street to the beauty parlor, and that's where -- they took her from there to the hospital.

Each time I -- from the time I was there she never -- she was always conscious, she was alert and everything. She knows who she is, she knows who I am and everything like that. She wants to go home because last night she was supposed to have confirmation. The bishop talked to her on the phone. Friday night was supposed to be her first basketball -- she's very active; she's into basketball, soccer, she plays the violin, she does cheerleading. April the 6th she was supposed to go to Washington for modeling. She'll only -- she'll be 14 in June.

OK, last night I was watching the different TV programs and it upset me because I don't think they said there was a conflict between her, the shooter, and my daughter. I don't think this was true. My children, when they go to Bishop Neumann School, I take them to school and I pick them up -- I only live about three blocks. When I parked my truck across the street from the school, the young lady, the shooter, would come out of school -- she would never talk to nobody; she would stand until her bus picked her up. So to say that there was a conflict between the two, I disagree. I disagree.

Now, any questions? Don't be...

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) does your daughter know why...

MARCHESE: No, she keeps asking why; she keeps asking why. Who knows? I don't know.

QUESTION: Do you know the other girl's parents? MARCHESE: No; I know the other girl, but I've never met their parents.

QUESTION: Have you had any contact with the Bush family?

MARCHESE: No, I haven't.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) witnesses inside the cafeteria say that they thought that Bush shot on the floor, and ricocheted up and hit your daughter.

MARCHESE: That I don't know. I mean, I'm like you people: I hear different stories, you people hear different stories. You know, my concern was going out to the hospital and talking to her. When I went into the emergency room she was alert and everything like that. And she was in -- I asked her what happened and she told me.

QUESTION: Did you question your daughter about this girl (OFF- MIKE)?

MARCHESE: No, I wouldn't question her because what happened -- the reason why I wouldn't question her, because she's upset to be away from home. OK, let's face it, she was supposed to be confirmed last night. She thinks it was her fault that they canceled school today. She thinks it's her fault that confirmation was going to be canceled. She's supposed to play basketball Friday night. Before the basketball she's supposed to go to violin lessons, OK. And she thought it was her -- and it's not her fault.

Nobody knows why things are done. And look at TV today: Every TV program you turn on -- even comedies right away they got to talk about a woman's butt, a woman's breast and that. If my son was appearing on one of those TV programs, I'd be yanking him off of there fast. When you see a little kid like that say, boy, you got a nice set of hooters -- excuse my language -- my kids ever talk like that, no.

QUESTION: Mr. Marchese, how is she doing emotionally, and does she want to go back to school?

MARCHESE: She wants to -- first of all, she wants to go home, OK. She doesn't discuss -- but she wants to get back to school. She thinks -- she wants to go to -- she's supposed to go to Washington April the 6th for this modeling. Nine girls in her class -- school went down to the motel to try out for this modeling thing, well -- because she always did the modeling down at the Lacoming (ph) mall. She went down there, only two of them out of the nine girls got picked and she was one of them. OK, I don't know if any of you have ever seen my daughter; she's got bright brown eyes, black hair. She's gorgeous; both my children are gorgeous.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) you talked about Elizabeth Bush, what do you think should happen with her?

MARCHESE: I don't think she should be tried as an adult; I don't. Because if she was -- my opinion, if she's tried like an adult, what's that's going to do to her down the end? You know, she's got to live with this thing the rest of her life. To me, I think this girl was a lonely girl. You know, and I don't think she should be tried -- what she did was wrong, everybody says that; but to be tried as an adult for a 13-year-old, no, I disagree.

QUESTION: What about, Mr. Marchese, the issue that a firearm was involved. What's your feeling about gun control and did it change as a result of what happened to (OFF-MIKE)?

MARCHESE: No; I don't believe in it. I got guns myself, but they're not kept in my house, OK? I don't...

QUESTION: Where do you keep them?

MARCHESE: At my mother-in-law's house under lock and key. And my son is allowed to use a gun; but the only reason why I allowed him to use a gun was -- and it's a .22 rifle -- if he went to hunter's safety course first. Kimberly has a rifle too, it's called a cricket; it's a single-shot .22.

No, I'm not -- I don't think it's fair to penalize gun owners for something -- whether it's here or wherever it happened. It's not fair to them.

QUESTION: So you don't see this as an issue to be brought up?

MARCHESE: I don't think it should be brought up; I don't think it should be brought up. You get a guy out here that's a drunken driver and he kills a kid, what are you going to do, take all the cars off the road? No, it's not fair; it's not fair to gun owners, and I don't think that some of the places saying this girl had -- that my daughter target out. I don't believe that. I don't know what happened inside the school, but when I pick up my children at night I'm always out there a half hour before they get out of school and my daughter and her other girlfriend would walk out the school together, talking to the kids and this and that, OK. And this girl would come out of school, walk by herself right to where the bus picks her up. She wouldn't say nothing to nobody. Can you imagine what her parents are going through on account of this ordeal?

QUESTION: Where were you when the shooting happened? How did you learn about it?

MARCHESE: I do volunteer work; I travel all over the county getting stuff for different organizations. I get home, I happen to see a helicopter flying up over -- I didn't think anything of it. I go in, there's 18 messages on my answering machine. Well, the first one I hit was the lady where my wife works, at the American Rescue Workers -- Kimmy was in an accident at school, we're at hospital, right. I thought, well, maybe the ceiling fell down, or something like that, on them. I couldn't get up Washington Boulevard because traffic was backed up three blocks from Penn Street to Railway. I thought, well, I'll cut out through Bishop Neumann. Well, that was worse yet.

I thought, well, I got to get out of here. When I'm at Bishop Neumann I hear on the radio a young lady was shot; then I knew it was my daughter, OK. Then I really made tracks. I drove up one-way streets the wrong way, drove over sidewalks; I didn't care, OK.


QUESTION: What is your reaction. I mean, what's the world coming to, would be the odd form of this question. What does this make you think, when this kind of a thing happens at Bishop Neumann of all places?

MARCHESE: Well, let's put it this way: it was funny, because my wife was talking to my two children the night before this about being nice to people, what can happen and stuff like this, OK. But what's the answer? I don't know. I suppose you people can't even tell me what's the answer; but I'm going to tell you what's one of the things is too much crap on TV.

QUESTION: One thing I wanted to get is the correct pronunciation of your name, however you prefer it.

MARCHESE: OK, it's Marchese. It's M-A-R-C -- it's Marchese, but they always call it Marchese. That's the way it's been for years and years and years.

QUESTION: Now, this has certainly brought about some notoriety because of the location -- it's in a school; you hear a lot about school shootings. This is going to happen again -- other schools, and it's certainly bound to. What words do you have for other parents who are going to have to go through -- be in the same position you're going to be -- you are in now? What words would you have for other parents like this?

MARCHESE: Well, the only thing I can say -- I hope it never happens again; I hope it never does because, I'm going to tell you something, the last -- since yesterday and today, it's been like through hell, OK. My wife can't deal with it, OK. She -- the phone rings upstairs in the room, she gets excited. I can handle the press, I ain't afraid of nobody.

HARRIS: We've been listening to the comments being made to the press this morning by very outspoken Michael Marchese. He is the father of Kimberly Marchese, the girl who, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania was shot while she was at school at the Bishop Neumann Junior-Senior High School there in the cafeteria. The shooting incident happened yesterday; she was shot by a 14-year-old girl. Kim Marchese is 13; we understand her condition right now is that she in the hospital, she is in stable condition. And we also understand, from the comments we've heard from her father here, that he -- after speaking with her, that she wants to go home, she wants to go back to school. She was supposed to be confirmed last night -- and the fact she thinks that the school was canceled today because of her; she has some guilt because of what happened.

But despite that, Michael Marchese says that he thinks the girl who shot his daughter is a lonely girl and should not be tried as an adult, she's someone who needs help.

We, of course, will have more coverage of this story throughout the day. In fact, we've got some more coverage of this coming up in the next show. Coming up now, "BURDEN OF PROOF" is taking a look at that issue.



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