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High School Shooting in New York City

Aired January 15, 2002 - 16:11   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We want to move quickly to New York , where school officials are commenting on that shooting at a high school in the upper west side of Manhattan.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

HAROLD LEVY, NYC SCHOOL CHANCELLOR: I follow very closely the number of incidents by school. It is actually up on our Web site, as are the number of suspensions. The high school superintendent from Manhattan actually has his office here so he has been very much aware of it.

QUESTION: What security is set up here?

LEVY: There is a metal detector. There are a good number of school safety exits (ph). I don't know the number.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Can you explain that you can enter a schools (OFF- MIKE).

LEVY: It appears to be the case, as I said before, that he came in through side entrance. But I do not know with certainty. I don't think anyone does at this point.

QUESTION: Where did the police catch the suspect?

LEVY: The police caught the suspect outside the building, not in the building.

QUESTION: How far -- can you give us details about that?

LEVY: The -- I'm advised that was arrested on 64th Street and Columbus.

QUESTION: What he chased? What was his nature?

LEVY: I don't...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Chief, can you give us your name, please. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief William Moran, the chief of patrol. He was observed out at 64th and Columbus by uniformed officers on patrol. It was his description, it was put over the air. And the officers spotted him, and they apprehended him.

QUESTION: Chief, what kind of gun was found? Can you describe it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a .380 caliber.

QUESTION: Can you identify him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The investigation is continuing at this time. You know, we're attempting to.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: You know how many shell casings were found?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three were shell casings and one live (ph).

QUESTION: What kind of a gun was it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A .380.

QUESTION: A what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell him.

QUESTION: Where was the gun found on the fifth floor? Can you tell us?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the floor. --

QUESTION: In the hallway?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the hallway.

QUESTION: Chief Grant, -- this person, describe the arrest. Was he spotted by a radio?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was spotted by uniformed patrol who had a description that was over the air. And they spotted him, they took him into custody.

QUESTION: What were they looking for? I mean, what was the identifying characteristic?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a clothing description.

QUESTION: And he didn't have a gun with him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he had no gun with him.

QUESTION: Who recovered the weapon on the fifth floor? Was it a student, police? Did he avoid arrest? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he did not.

QUESTION: How many children saw the shooting?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is unknown at this time. We are still investigating that.

QUESTION: Sir, was the gun wrapped in sweats and left on the fifth floor?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know at this time. We'll let you know.

QUESTION: Is that gun that he used an automatic?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is an automatic.

QUESTION: It is an automatic?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

QUESTION: When the students were shot, what were the circumstances of the other kids in the area? Did they go running? What happened to them when the shooting took place?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The investigation is still continuing on that. We don't really know who was present.

LEVY: You have to understand the children were in lockdown, that is to say, we closed the classrooms. They were kept in the classrooms. There have been a relatively few number of children who have been interviewed. And the interviewing is ongoing. So the specifics of what happened and where and so on, I think we still need to pull pieces together. This all happened within the last two or three hours.

QUESTION: The student body president says that they requested the superintendent's order, I believe you said, in October that security at the school be beefed-up and they said it's not necessary.

LEVY: I'm not aware of that.

(CROSSTALK)

Yes, the superintendent for high schools.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE).

LEVY: Yes? I'm sorry. I can only listen to one at time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

LEVY: I don't think we know yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We are attempting to find that out now.

QUESTION: What grade level was the suspect? What grade level -- you said he was a high absentee.

LEVY: I don't know the grade.

QUESTION: Do you know...

LEVY: We can try and get that for you.

QUESTION: Were the two boys together or were they just happened to be in the hallway at the same time? Were they friends? Were they...

LEVY: I don't think we know any of this kind of detail yet.

QUESTION: The gang issue, is it because of clothing that you suspect a gang attack?

LEVY: We are not going comment on -- I told you what I can about our belief that it is gang related, but I think at this point it is still premature.

QUESTION: How many students were in the school when the shooting occurred?

LEVY: About 2,000 students in the school.

QUESTION: And that's the high school level?

LEVY: Yes. Martin Luther King is a high school. It has about 2,000 students in it.

QUESTION: At what time were they supposed to be dismissed?

WOODRUFF: We're listening to school officials in New York City, also police officials discussing what happened at Martin Luther King High School on the upper west of Manhattan. Two students were shot, apparently two 16-year-old boys. Both of them are in the hospital, and from what we were hearing there, it sounds as if they have now apprehended the gunman. They described, at one point, they said they thought this incident might have been gang related, but they didn't give us any more information than that, so we will just have to wait and see what more we can learn.

Let's see -- is Jason Carroll there on the scene? Jason, are you there?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I am here, Judy. I can tell you what -- I can tell you from what's happening out here. We are standing across the street from Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, where a press conferences has just been completed, giving us more information about what's going on.

First of all, let me set the scene for you. If you look right across the street here at the school, you can see there is still a number of police officers who are out here. At this point, there are just doing a security sweep of the school, checking for more evidence from the shooting.

Just to recap what we learned from the press conference, the shooting happened at around 2:00. We are told that is just around 7th period, which is one of the last periods of the day. Two students were shot, one, 17, the other, 18. The 17-year-old was shot in the lower back. The 18-year-old apparently was shot in the shoulder. None of the injuries appear to be life-threatening, that according to the police.

Both students were apparently up on the fourth floor of the high school that you see up there. The gun though was apparently found on the fifth floor along with several casings. The police were called immediately. We are told that the individual is in custody at this point. He appears to be another student at the school. He was registered at the school but apparently very rarely if ever showed up for classes here.

The police officers at this point are in the process of calling all the parents at the school to notify them of exactly what happened. They will be guidance counselors out here tomorrow as well as additional police officers. They will be out here as well. We did have an opportunity to speak with several students out here earlier today, Judy. And during the press conference, we heard that the police officers said that there was a possibility that the suspect may have slipped in through a side door, that they have metal detectors at the front of the school and that is how students get inside.

But in talking to some of the students out here, they tell us that those metal detectors are only used for the first part of the day, and that for the latter part of the day, the metal detectors oftentimes are not working so people can come in without having to go through a metal detector and simply receive a visitor's pass and gain access to the school. But the police are saying that there is a possibility that the suspect may have slipped in through a side entrance.

Again, that suspect is in custody. He appears to be another student at the school. Police are saying that this could be some sort of a gang related incident, but of course, more is going to have to be done in terms of finally determining a cause for the shooting -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Jason, just quickly, tell us exactly where the school is in the upper west side of Manhattan. Give us some landmarks and street crossings.

CARROLL: This is the upper west side of Manhattan, for those people who are familiar with it. It's along Amsterdam Avenue and West 65th Street, appear in the upper west side. The school, in terms of some its history, this is the first time, we are told there has been a shooting at the school, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been security issues at the school.

In fact, there was one report in one of the local papers here saying that one of the teachers at the school actually felt concerned for her safety simply because one of the other students at the school had threatened her. At one point, that teacher saying that she had felt -- she had feared for her safety being at this school. So it's up here on the upper west side of Manhattan, not a history of having violent problems here, but there has definitely been a history of having some security concerns here at the school -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Jason Carroll reporting for us from New York. Thank you, Jason.

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