Shootings in Cleveland high school leave five injured, gunman dead

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Location of Ohio within the United States.

A 14-year-old student opened fire in a Cleveland, Ohio high school today, wounding four people. The gunman then fatally shot himself.

Police were called to the scene at 1:15 p.m. EST, with reports of a gunman in the school. The gunman, 14-year-old Asa H. Coon, entered the school with a gun in each hand. Students were evacuated, with the gunman reportedly still in the building for some time afterward.

According to Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson, two adult males, ages 57 and 42, and two teenage males, ages 18 and 14, were wounded, and taken to local hospitals. A third teenager, a 14-year-old female, hurt her knee while running from the school.

A spokesperson for the hospital would not give details of the students' names or conditions, but Jackson said in an afternoon press conference that all three teenagers were in stable condition.

According to one student, 14-year-old student Michael Peek was the first person shot, after reportedly punching Coon in the face. The student indicated that Peek did not know that Coon was armed at the time. 18-year-old student Darnell Rodgers told the media that he was the other student shot, a graze wound for which he was treated and subsequently released.

The 57-year-old teacher, David Kachadourian, was listed in good condition. 42-year-old teacher Michael Grassie was in surgery and his condition was unavailable.

The gunman was reportedly upset about a recent suspension arising from a fight that happened Monday near the school.

According to one student interviewed by CNN, the gunman said he "worshiped the devil" and had mentioned committing a shooting at the school. Another student noted that the gunman often wore a trench coat and an empty pistol belt to class.

A security guard was present on the first floor of the building, but the position of a guard on the third floor was eliminated. While metal detectors were present in the building, they were not always in use; it is unclear whether they were in use at the time of the shooting.

The school, SuccessTech Academy, is a non-traditional school within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, described on their web site as a "small, nontraditional high school that provides a learning environment in which all student believe in their ability to succeed." It opened five years ago.

SuccessTech is located on the third, fourth and fifth floors of a building in downtown Cleveland that also houses some administrative offices.

The school owes its existence in part to a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which helped to fund the creation of the school.