"Student shot at Detroit high school by gun in pocket"

Parents questioning how gun got in school
March 28, 2003


A group of about 30 angry and worried parents surrounded the entrance to Finney High School in Detroit late Thursday morning, screaming for answers. They wanted to know how a student could sneak a handgun into the school before firing the weapon and wounding himself. They wanted to know whether metal detectors at school entrances worked. And they wanted to know when they would be allowed to take their children home for the day. School officials had all the answers, although the explanations weren't comforting.

It was revealed after the 16-year-old sophomore accidentally shot himself in the leg Thursday while taking a gun out of his pocket, that it's not that difficult to sneak into one of 37 sets of doors leading into the building. The doors may be locked, but students often prop them open and let other students in, said Assistant Principal Alan Labostrie. He said the doors once were chained, but the fire marshal ordered the chains removed. Stan Childress, spokesman for Detroit Public Schools, acknowledged the problem and said the district is stepping up staff training and student forums on security and safety. "If a student is bound and determined to open a door, that can happen in a building with that many doors," Childress said. Meanwhile, Detroit Police said the handgun used in the 10:08 a.m. shooting is still missing. Another student ran off with the weapon, said Lt. Michael Lee of the gang enforcement division. That student was being questioned, but the gun still hadn't been found. The 16-year-old shot himself while in the cafeteria during the school's first lunch hour. He was taken to St. John Hospital and was temporarily in serious condition. No other injuries were reported.

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