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Schools Stay Closed Over Bullet Marks

December 19, 2003|From Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Officials said schools would remain closed for a second day today at a district near a series of highway shootings after bullet marks were found on two school buses.

Officials already had canceled classes Thursday, a day after the marks were found near the taillights of the buses during maintenance inspections.

The district used the day off to inspect all of its 200 buses and confer with a task force investigating the shootings, said South-Western City Schools Supt. Kirk Hamilton. No other bullet marks were found during the inspection, he said.

The district serves about 20,500 students in grades kindergarten through 12, and today had been scheduled to be the last day of classes before a two-week winter break, Hamilton said.

Investigators are not yet saying whether they believe the bus shootings are connected to 16 shootings along Interstate 270, one of which killed a woman. No bullets were found in either shooting, making ballistics tests impossible.

The driver of one of the buses said she heard a noise that may have been the shot earlier this week, and that two students might have been on board at the time, said Franklin County Sheriff Chief Deputy Steve Martin.

On Wednesday, investigators confirmed through ballistics tests that a bullet recovered from a house was fired by the gun that was used to kill a car passenger Nov. 25 on the highway.

That bullet became the seventh to be positively linked to the shootings, but investigators believe 16 shootings reported since May are connected.

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