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Student Shoots Teacher to Death at Alternative High School

September 25, 1996 GMT

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) _ A teen-age student fired into a classroom and killed a teacher today at a school for troubled children.

The bell had just rung for the first period at DeKalb Alternative School when the student stood in the hallway and shot Horace P. Morgan five times, said Lequentin Walker, a 14-year-old student who witnessed the shooting from a classroom across the hall.

Morgan, 49, was dead on arrival at DeKalb Medical Center.

The shooter tried to run away but was stopped by school officials, Walker said. Mary Stimmel, a spokeswoman for the DeKalb County school district, said he was taken into custody by police. She declined to release his name and age.

Walker said students ran out of the school when they heard the shots.

``I looked out my window and saw a crowd of children rushing out of the school,″ said Louise Reese, who lives across the street.

The students were later sent home for the day. Parents picked up many of them, and buses were brought in to take about two dozen students home.

DeKalb Alternative School, founded 18 years ago, has 164 students in grades 4-12 who have been expelled from other schools in the suburban Atlanta county, Ms. Stimmel said. It is more structured than other schools, and class sizes are fairly small _ 18 students to a teacher.

The student had just transferred to the school a week ago, Ms. Stimmel said. She did not know whether he had argued with the teacher before the shooting.

The school does not have metal detectors to check students for weapons, but hand-held wands are occasionally used for that purpose, Ms. Stimmel said. Walker said students’ book bags also are checked randomly by police or school officials two to three times a week.

``What’s next? We can’t even go to school?″ asked Robert Powell, Walker’s father. ``What are we going to do, teach them at home?

``How did that boy get a gun in there?″ Powell added. ``I’d like to see metal detectors.″

Morgan, who taught English, had worked at the school for 10 years and was a 21-year employee of the suburban Atlanta school district, Georgia’s largest.

``He was obviously a very dedicated teacher,″ Ms. Stimmel said.