Published November 13, 2013
Authorities say a 16-year-old student has been charged with shooting and injuring three students as they headed to their cars outside of Brashear High School in Pittsburgh Wednesday afternoon.
Anjohnito Willett Jr. awaited arraignment on four counts each of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. He's also charged with illegally possessing a gun as a juvenile.
Police say Willet apparently shot the three students and shot at a fourth in retaliation for beating him in a drug-related robbery inside the school last month. Police Lt. Kevin Kraus says school police investigated the Oct. 18 robbery but couldn't file charges because Willett wouldn't identify his attackers, telling police he wished to settle matters himself.
Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh confirmed that Willett hadn't returned to school and that officials were in touch with his parents.
"I think they were considering moving him to a different location but it just hadn't happened yet," Pugh said.
The victims' wounds appeared to be non-life-threatening, both Pugh and police spokeswoman Diane Richard said, though their descriptions of the wounds differed slightly.
Pugh said two students were grazed in the head and one was shot in both the foot and arm. Richard said one was grazed in the neck and shoulder, but not the head. Two are 17 and one is 16.
The victims are all boys, and none immediately spoke or cooperated with police, Richard said. All were listed in good to stable condition at city hospitals, she said.
Kraus said police don't expect to charge any of the shooting victims in connection with the assault and robbery, which he characterized as drug-related without offering details.
"If there's no victim, there's no crime," Kraus said.
The student who was shot in the head was found inside the school, though that's because he "made his way back to the school, and was pulled back inside by one of the administrators," Richard said.
A 17-year-old student told TribLive.com that the injured teen did not even realize he had been shot when he ran inside.
“He said ‘who got shot'?" Sydney Lieb said. "And I said 'You did! You're bleeding.' A teacher held him down on the ground. They were holding his head and making sure he was ok.”
Brashear is a high school with about 1,400 students and 100 faculty in grades nine through 12 about two miles south of downtown. The school was locked down briefly, though students were released to their parents about 90 minutes after the shooting.
Witnesses initially told police as many as three gunmen emerged from the woods near the school, but Kraus said that turned out to be incorrect. One was another student cutting through on his way home. The other was a juvenile who was with Willett but not involved in the shooting. Police don't expect to charge him.
"With the information and the evidence we have," Willett appeared to be the only shooter, Kraus said at a news conference late Wednesday.
Schools Superintendent Linda Lane said the school would be open Thursday, but would operate with a modified lockdown for the rest of the week. That means only students, teachers and those with previously arranged appointments will be allowed in the school.
The Associated Press contributed to this report