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Athens students in class after shooting

September 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
There were plenty of jittery nerves Monday morning as students, teachers and parents came to terms with a double shooting at a high school campus in the Athens area of Los Angeles.Four males are under arrest in connection with that shooting. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department believes it was gang-related.

Meanwhile, school administrators want to assure all parents that the campus is safe.

The principal of George Washington Preparatory High School in Athens greeted students Monday morning before the bell rang. He says attendance is good after a shooting on campus injured two people.

"She's safe. As long as she feels safe. If she didn't want to go to school, I wouldn't let her today. I wouldn't," said Latisha Lockwood, one student's mother.

Despite extra police patrols around George Washington High, some students arrived feeling apprehensive about their safety.

"I didn't want to come back to school but my grandma made me," said student Lygeia Washington. "I wish I just could've stayed home because I really don't feel safe here."

On Friday, a 12-year-old girl was shot in the chest and left leg. A 19-year-old former Washington High football player was also shot in the pelvis and lower body.

Authorities say the shots were fired in the parking lot after a football game. The shooting is believed to be gang-related.

Sophomore Dayshaun Townsend says he feared for his life.

"I was in the car with my teacher because he was about to drive me home. And I got in the car and next thing you know, he put the roof down, and all you hear is 'pop, pop, pop, pop,'" said Townsend.

"A 12-year-old girl is in stable condition now because she just happened to be standing, attending a football game. It's crazy," said Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte.

LaMotte is a school board member and one-time Washington High principal. She said about 10 gangs have plagued the neighborhood for years. She said it's time for parents to get involved in their children's lives.

"Guns don't fall out of the sky, they're in your homes. Parents need to go into the bedrooms and into any space children have and be the parent. Find whatever they shouldn't have," said LaMotte.

"Well, we pick her up everyday anyway, but especially now. It's so sad that our kids can't go to school in peace without retaliating against each other for nothing," said Marilyn Debaun, a grandmother of a student. "It's senseless. It really is. And, it's sad."

Counselors are on hand at the school for any kids who have any concerns.

Both victims of Friday's shooting are in stable condition and are expected to recover.

Police are looking for additional suspects. If you have any information regarding Friday's shooting, you should call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Lennox, at (310) 671-7531.

Eyewitness News reporters Melissa MacBride and Leslie Sykes contributed to this report.

 

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