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Teen Fires Shots at Principal

April 20, 2001 GMT

MONROE, La. (AP) _ A 14-year-old student at a school for troubled youths fired shots Friday at the principal, who escaped injury because the gun initially wouldn’t fire, authorities said.

The attack happened about 7:20 a.m. at the Monroe City Alternative Center, which handles students who have been expelled from other schools, Police Chief Joe Stewart said.

About 20 of the school’s 65 students and school officials were outside the gymnasium waiting to be routinely checked with a hand-held metal detector when the boy pulled a semi-automatic pistol, pointed it at a group of adults, including Principal Charles Rohner, and pulled the trigger, Stewart said.


``The gun either misfired or did not have a round in the chamber,″ Stewart said.

The group scattered into a large meeting room at the school. While the principal and another official held the door closed, the youth fired at least three rounds through a window in the door, Stewart said.

The youth eventually got into the gym through an unlocked door and fired another shot, but the students and officials escaped, Stewart said. Arriving officers overpowered the boy while he was reloading and took him into custody, school Superintendent George Cannon said.

The student had returned Thursday after being suspended from the school last month, said Kelly Magee, spokeswoman for the Monroe City school system. She didn’t know the reason for the suspension. He had been expelled from another school in October for marijuana possession, school officials said.

No motive was immediately determined for the shooting and the boy’s name was not released. The shooting happened on the second anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, but Stewart said the youth did not mention that.

Elsewhere Friday, a high school and elementary school in New York’s Suffolk County were closed after one or more students received threatening e-mail.

``We have not had this kind of threat before so in conjunction with concerns with the anniversary of the shooting at Columbine it seemed like the prudent thing to do,″ said Dwayne Adsitt, superintendent of schools.