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Lawyer: Boy jailed in Philly shooting not to blame

January 19, 2014
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 17-year-old boy charged as an adult in the shooting of two students inside a school gym isn't responsible for the crime, his attorney said.

Charges against Raisheem Rochwell were based on surveillance video and witness information from the shooting Friday afternoon at Delaware Valley Charter High School, police said. One bullet from a gun Rochwell was holding hit two students, wounding each in an arm, police said.

But Rochwell's attorney, Amato Sanita, disputed that account to reporters Saturday night.

"I've not seen that, I'm not aware of that, and from the information I have, I do not believe that is accurate," Sanita said of the police version of events. He added that Rochwell "is not the person who will ultimately be responsible for this act."

Rochwell has been charged with aggravated assault, carrying an unlicensed firearm, carrying a firearm in public in Philadelphia, possessing a firearm while a minor, possessing an instrument of crime, simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person.

He remained in jail Sunday and unable to post $500,000 bond. He faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 6.

The school will resume classes Tuesday, after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

"We are thankful that our students are in good condition and recovering from this unfortunate incident. We will continue to be committed to making sure that the safety of our children and staff is taken seriously inside and outside of school," the school said in a statement.

School officials also said they were working with police and the school's public safety team "to ensure that all safety measures are addressed." The school has metal detectors, but officials and police have yet to say how they believe the gun was brought into the building.

An 18-year-old female student was shot in the back of her left arm, and the same bullet also struck a 17-year-old boy in the shoulder, police said. Both were treated at the Albert Einstein Medical Center. The female student was released Friday, but it wasn't clear Sunday whether the male student remained hospitalized.

Although police have stopped short of calling the shooting accidental, Sanita suggested it was — though he stopped short of using that word.

"Anything you're hearing out there, this is nothing that involves anything intentional," Sanita said. "We can make those comments right now, and that's it."

Police also questioned a 16-year-old boy in connection with the shooting, but he was released because the district attorney's office declined to approve criminal charges, according to a police statement.

 
 

 

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