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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Woodland Hills

Postgame Shooting Has Police Puzzled

November 07, 2000|HILARY E. MacGREGOR

Police released information Monday about a late-night shooting Friday after a Taft High School football game that left a student with a gunshot wound in the shoulder and authorities without leads or a motive.

The shooting occurred at about 10 p.m. following the school's homecoming game against Cleveland High of Reseda.

The victim, a 17-year-old Taft student, was walking across the school's front parking lot to catch a bus home when he heard a shot, then felt a sting in his right shoulder, said Det. Greg Demirjian, who heads the gang unit at the LAPD's West Valley Division. The student stumbled to a supermarket across the street and found some friends to take him to a nearby hospital.

"We don't know who the shooter was," Demirjian said Monday. "We don't know if he was selected, or if it was a stray bullet."

School officials said a couple of the five school police officers who worked Friday's game arrived at the site of the shooting almost immediately.

But because the student got himself to the hospital, and no one called 911, school officials did not know until 30 minutes after the shooting that a student was involved, Principal Myra Fullerton said Monday.

Rumors flew and the shooting was the subject of gossip and speculation at a school dance Friday night. Fullerton said she sent a memo to all Taft High staff Monday morning.

"I knew students would be talking, so I wanted to give them the facts as we knew them," she said.

The memo informs students and teachers that there was a shooting and that the student was released from the hospital Saturday and will return to school next week.

Fullerton, who said younger people are often more resilient than adults, reported that the atmosphere was calm on campus Monday. She plans to send an updated memo about the incident home to parents today, she added.

In the meantime, Fullerton is planning to beef up security for the school's next football game, on Thursday against rival El Camino Real High School. She said she hopes to have 12 school police officers working that night.

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