Five people, including a pair of 15-year-olds, were arrested Friday in connection with a shooting earlier in the day outside Carver Vocational-Technical High School as classes were getting underway, police said.
In a statement Friday night, police said the parents of one 15-year-old brought the student to Carver High at about 7:50 a.m. to assault an unidentified person. Both the parents and the teen took part in the attack, during which the 15-year-old pistol-whipped the unidentified victim, police said.
The 15-year-old fled from the assault and ran across another 15-year-old student at the front of the school, where the two exchanged words, police said. The assault suspect and the Carver student both produced handguns and began shooting.
During that exchange, both 15-year-olds and an uninvolved 16-year-old Carver student were hit by bullets. A third Carver student then retrieved one of the firearms used in the incident and fled from the area, police said.
All five people involved (the two 15-year-olds, the student accused of retrieving the weapon and the parents) have been arrested, police said. Their identities were not released Friday night.
Police said both 15-year-old males remain in police custody at an area hospital and are listed in stable condition. The 16-year-old student has been released from the hospital.
Once released from the hospital, the two 15-year-old males will be charged as adults with various counts, including attempted murder and handgun violations, police said.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Jones said the shooting was reported around 7:45 a.m. at the school in the 2200 block of Presstman Street in West Baltimore’s Coppin Heights area.
According to evidence that was visible at the scene, the shooting appeared to have occurred on a sidewalk, just in front of steps that lead down to the entrance of the school. Carver is a career- and technology-focused high school with about 1,000 students.
The school was immediately placed on lockdown, and Carver students were dismissed at 10:30 a.m., the school system said on X (formerly Twitter).
About 11:30 a.m., school police walked a teenager out of the school, handcuffed him and put him in the back of a school police car parked on the side of the building.
Michael Rosenband was almost at a loss for words as he stood across the street from Carver Friday morning.
”It’s not normal … the amount of trauma our young people have to face is unjust and unfair,” he said.
Rosenband is the executive director of Requity, a nonprofit headquartered across the street from the school that tries to bridge the gap between vocational education and career opportunities. He wishes there was more investment in the neighborhood because he sees the possibilities and untapped potential.
”I hope this can rally people in a meaningful way to bring resources we need as a community, " he said.
Youth violence in the city has spiked since the pandemic. Since October of last year, 125 teenagers between 13 and 18 years of age have been shot in the city. That is up from 99 in the same period in 2018 and 2019.
A number of those shootings, although far from the majority, have occurred within a few blocks of schools. Last January, five students were shot, one of whom died, at Edmondson Village shopping center across the street from Edmondson Westside High School.
Shootings inside city schools or on school property are rare, and very few children 12 and under are shot in Baltimore. The rate is actually down significantly since 2015.
Jenard Ware couldn’t help but feel bad for his daughter, Jasmine Ware, and other young people in Baltimore as he waited to pick her up during the school’s early dismissal.
”She can’t go nowhere and do anything without looking over her shoulder,” Ware said.
Ware added that people don’t fight anymore if they have a disagreement. Now “kids get their hands on a gun and they’re playing God,” he said.
City Council President Nick Mosby said in a statement that his heart was with the families of those who were shot and that the City Council is “praying for a speedy and full recovery.
“No resident in any corner of our city should feel unsafe going to school in the morning. No parent in our city should feel uneasy dropping their son or daughter off at the school doors. It’s simply unacceptable, but that paralyzing fear is something too many residents in our city live with each day.“
Marvin “Doc” Cheatham, who was at the scene of the shooting, said more should be done to get guns away from children. “These guns are in our homes. They’re not in trash cans or anything. … These kids are getting too quick access to guns because they’re right by them.”
Before releasing students at 10:30 a.m, the school system decided to have school buses or MTA buses pick up students at the school doors so they would not have to walk to bus stops. Parents who normally picked up their students in person were asked to meet them at the football field.
Sherry Christian, a media relations manager with Baltimore City Public Schools, said they reached out to the shooting victims’ families first before sending out emails and robocalls to all Carver families.
It’s times like this, Christian said, when parents possibly find out that their information isn’t updated. Many parents walked up to the school irate, questioning the process for getting kids and a lag in when they were notified.
”In all the chaos, people might think it takes a long time. I’m proud of how fast we got the information out,” Christian said.
School officials sent the first alert — through robocall, X, and a note on its website — to Carver parents at 9:05 a.m., notifying the parents of the three students who had been injured. They sent a second set of notifications 50 minutes later, informing parents of an early dismissal. The school system also rerouted all calls going into Carver’s switchboard to the school headquarters call center so the school would not be overwhelmed with phone calls, Christian said.
Early dismissal also meant getting creative with transportation because many students use public buses to get to and from school. Robbin Marshall, an assistant director of transportation for city schools, said he had to work with MTA to recruit drivers for oft-used routes for students.
After recruiting fill-in drivers, converting routes and even teaching drivers about new routes on the fly, many students were transported home if parents did not pick them up.
”A lot of people bash MTA, but I’ve had nothing but good experiences with them,” Marshall said.
Marshall added that the panic falls on all sides in situations like this and he understands why parents might get frustrated but “this is not something we do everyday either,” he said.
After-school activities are cancelled and the football game is postponed.
Jasmine Ware, a 17-year-old senior at Carver, said she wasn’t at school yet when the shooting happened. When she got off the bus, she saw police cars and was told to go into a classroom. Students were told to wait on one side of the classroom, she said.
It didn’t take long to find out that the senior trip to Hersheypark was canceled. Jasmine, who wants to work at a day care when she graduates, bought snacks for the trip the night before, making sure to include her favorite, Flamin’ Hot Doritos.
”It’s very aggravating. I was waiting all week for this,” she said.
Jasmine said no student wants to arrive at school and see it flooded with police officers. ”Baltimore is dangerous, but it’s just the people who have the guns. They just wanna do stupid stuff,” Jasmine said.
Christian said classes at Carver will resume Monday, but arrival times will be staggered by grade. An assembly has been planned for students to address the shooting and offer support. Counseling will be made available Monday for staff and students. Families have been notified of the steps the school plans to take.
“Staff will assess who needs more counseling,” Christian said, “and that support will be provided for as long as needed.”
Mayor Brandon Scott, in a statement after the arrests were announced, said, “This is a despicable example of parents facilitating the escalation of everyday conflict between young people into reckless gun violence endangering innocent lives. We cannot tolerate this. My hope is that those responsible for this incident, including the parents, will be brought to justice.”