BREAKING NEWS - Two students shot at New Orleans middle school

Tuesday, September 26th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

New Orleans Police try to control a crowd of parents outside a local middle school. Photo courtesy: WWL-TV, KOTV's sister station in New Orleans, LA.

Click Here for video #1 from WWL-TV, New Orleans.

Click Here for video #2 from WWL-TV, New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS – A feud between two students erupted in gunfire at a a New Orleans middle school Tuesday, leaving both in critical condition.

Lt. Marlon DeFillo, a police spokesman, said early police interviews with witnesses indicated that someone passed the gun through a fence to a 13-year-old who had been arguing with a 14-year-old.

The 13-year-old shot the 14-year-old, who then grabbed the gun and shot the 13-year-old, DeFillo said. The shooting happened just before noon in a breezeway between the school cafeteria and the main building.

Both students were taken by ambulance from Carter G. Woodson Middle School to Charity Hospital, where spokeswoman Jean Patterson described their condition as critical.

Police spokesman David Bowser said several fights had been reported at the school in recent weeks. It was unclear whether the shooting was related to the fights.

More than 100 parents lined up outside the school as the news broke on noon newscasts. Some yelled at security guards, irate that a gun was on campus.

One said recent violence at the school had made her daughter fearful.

"She was afraid to come to school two weeks ago because boys were fighting,'' Veronica Lewis said as she hugged daughter Neshetta, 14. "I told her she'd be all right. Now I'm just afraid for my child.''

The school sits among modest pastel-painted "shotgun-style'' houses in the New Orleans' uptown area, a racially and economically diverse part of town where low- and middle-income homes sit close behind the stately mansions that line St. Charles Avenue.

Mike Smith, 14, a seventh-grader who said he was nearby, said students heard gunshots and ran into the school building.

"I heard it and everybody started running. Everybody just ran,'' he said.

Mike said teachers made students stay in classrooms until they were allowed to leave.

School Superintendent Alphonse Davis said classes at the school would be canceled for three days in "a cooling-off period.'' However, the school will remain open for students who want to talk to counselors, he said.

Two or three police officers will be assigned to the school, in addition to the usual 10 assigned to the neighborhood, when classes resume next week, police said.

Stay with for the latest updates on this story and watch The News on Six at 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM for exclusive video from the scene.

One shooting victim arrives at New Orleans' Charity Hospital. AP photo