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Police: Concealed-carry coach who killed student is a 'victim'

February 05, 2013|By Matt Pearce

Officials may chalk a Detroit school shooting up to self-defense.

On Friday night after a basketball game at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Detroit, 70-year-old coach Ernest Robinson was walking two students to their cars when two teenage boys approached, police said.

One of the boys, Michael Scott, 16, was a student at the school, officials confirmed.

Surveillance video shows the two boys "waiting in [a] corridor, with alleged attacker Michael Scott placing a white T-shirt he brought with him on his head in the hopes of concealing his identity," according to MyFoxDetroit, citing police sources who saw surveillance footage of the attack.

WXYZ-TV, citing police who also saw the footage, reported that the teens "announced a holdupĀ  and grabbed the coach by his chain necklace and stuck something in his chest."

Police would not confirm to the Los Angeles Times whether Scott and the other unidentified teen, 15, had a gun or other weapon, citing an ongoing investigation.

WXYZ-TV further reported that "the coach is seen struggling with the teens and then when he is able to get some distance between himself and them, he pulls out his gun and fires at the teens, striking both of them."

Robinson wasn't just a coach with the school's basketball team. He was a reserve police officer and licensed to carry a concealed gun, police said.

Scott died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Wayne County medical examiner's office. The 15-year-old boy has been hospitalized in critical condition, Detroit police spokeswoman Cassandra Lewis told The Times on Tuesday.

MyFoxDetroit said that the coach didn't have a cellphone and so drove to a police station to report the shooting; police sources told MyFoxDetroit and WXYZ-TV they believe the shooting was justified self-defense.

Lewis -- who referred to Robinson as a "victim" -- said the case had been passed along to Wayne County prosecutors to decide whether to prosecute the coach, and a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said the incident was under review.

Steve Wasko, a spokesman for the school system, said there had been no change in Robinson's status as a coach at the school.

Scott's mother, Priscilla, plus a number of family members and friends, gathered at the school's snowy parking lot Saturday to hold a vigil. Priscilla Scott told MyFoxDetroit her son didn't own a gun and that "Michael's not like that."

"He's just a good kid, you know?" Andre Scott, his brother, told the station. "You get caught up in things, but he wasn't a bad kid, he wasn't."

Priscilla Scott told those who had gathered, "I just want everyone to be careful and make sure you all graduate" -- and then she began to sob -- "please, everyone please graduate, all King Crusaders, graduate for Mike."

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matt.pearce@latimes.com

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