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School Vulnerable to Attack Despite Tight Security : Safety: A melee involving intruders and football players raises questions of what more can be done to prevent violence.

August 15, 1993|PAUL McLEOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LYNWOOD — Security is a priority at Lynwood High School.

Metal detectors are at two entrances. Campus guards search students as they squeeze through doors that can be bolted shut at a moment's notice. Other guards in marked cars patrol the surrounding neighborhood. Fences as high as 15 feet surround the school.

In addition, a deputy sheriff is assigned to the campus all day, students are not permitted to leave school for lunch, and anyone caught with a weapon on campus is expelled.

"We don't have a lot of problems on the campus," said Ben Carpenter, the football coach. "Lynwood is better than most of the other schools around here."

But school officials were left frustrated and wondering what more they can do in the wake of an after-school melee Wednesday in which a football player was stabbed. The incident happened as about a dozen football players were completing a workout in an afternoon physical education class.

Two youngsters, apparently seeking revenge for the beating of a friend, entered the school grounds by climbing a 10-foot fence near the football field. One of them approached Michael Williams, 14, who was seated on a bench near the gym.

The youngster accused Williams of beating a friend, then pulled out a knife and stabbed Williams in the head and chest, according to a football player who asked not to be identified. "It all happened so fast," the player said. "He just came in here and we were all getting ready to leave."

About six players pursued the knife-wielding suspect, tackled him beneath a goal post and began to beat him.

He managed to flee to a teacher's car nearby, but the players surrounded the car, cracked the windshield and broke out the side windows in an attempt to get at the attacker.

Sheriff's deputies eventually got the crowd of players under control. They found the knife under the front seat of the teacher's car.

The two youngsters, who were not students at the high school, were arrested.

Williams, who collapsed during the chase, was taken to King Drew Medical Center . He was listed in stable condition. Three others--linebacker Larry Walker and running backs Kareem Edmond and Terry Goodwin--suffered cuts from broken glass.

Victor Thompson, assistant vice principal, said he was shocked by the stabbing. Thompson added more security guards Thursday and canceled all after-school activities for the rest of the week.

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