CHICAGO – A 15-year-old boy was charged as an adult in a shooting at a Chicago high school that injured the boy and a classmate, police said Wednesday.
Police declined to release the 15-year-old's name, saying he is a juvenile, police officer Hector Alfaro said. The boy faces one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon on school grounds.
On Wednesday, authorities worked to determine how the student got a 9 mm handgun past a school's metal detectors and into a science classroom where the gun discharged as the boys played with the weapon.
The teens were sitting in the back of a classroom at the Chicago Vocational Career Academy Tuesday afternoon when the gun went off as one boy passed the gun to the other, striking one in the thigh and the other near the knee, said Robert Lopez, an assistant deputy police superintendent.
One of the boys, 14-year-old Jodale Woodfork, was in good condition at Cook County's John H. Stroger Hospital, where he was expected to stay until Wednesday for observation, hospital spokesman Don Rashid said.
Police and school officials identified the teen who brought the gun to school as the 15-year-old. He was treated and released Tuesday, University of Chicago Hospitals spokesman John Easton said.
School officials tried to determine how the gun made it into the classroom.
"How the weapon got into the building obviously is a main concern for us," said Michael Vaughn, a spokesman for Chicago Public Schools, who said students are required to go through metal detectors at the school's main entrances every day.
School administrators indicated the teen who brought the gun to school arrived later in the school day, Vaughn said. But all students who enter the building at any time are supposed to be screened, Vaughn said.
School officials planned to interview the students involved and review footage from the school's extensive surveillance camera system, Vaughn said. He also said additional security measures would be used to help screen students at the building's entrances.
After the gun discharged, the teen who brought it to school panicked, ran outside the building and dumped the gun near the front of the building, Lopez said. A Chicago police officer assigned to the school confronted the student as he re-entered the building, and the student led him to the gun, police said.
Lopez said there was no magazine, or clip, in the gun, and the student may not have realized there was a bullet in the chamber.
It was the second shooting on school property in less than a month. On March 22, two students standing in the parking lot were shot and wounded after a car pulled into the lot and an occupant opened fire, Bond said.
The students both recovered from their wounds, but no arrests were made, Bond said.
The academy, which opened in 1940, has about 2,000 students in grades 9-12. Students enter a three-year vocational career path in their sophomore year, including "majors" such as accounting, cosmetology, graphic arts and carpentry, according to the school's Web site.
The most recent school-related fatal shooting of a student in the Chicago area occurred in 2003 when 16-year-old Kenneth Porter was shot a few blocks from Proviso East High School in suburban Maywood, according to the National School Safety Center, which tracks fatal shootings at and near schools.
In 2002, 18-year-old Maurice Davis was fatally shot across the street from Englewood Technical Preparatory Academy, a Chicago public school, according to the center.
According to the center's records, seven Chicago Public School students have been fatally shot in or near their schools since 1992.