Two students shot inside CPS high school

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Charges may be filed against a student who brought a gun to school Tuesday. The gun accidentally discharged, wounding him and another student. It happened at Chicago Vocational Career Academy on the South Side at 2100 E. 87th Street.

Police have been questioning the 15-year-old who they say discharged that gun. He spent several hours Tuesday evening at Area 2 police headquarters. Their primary question is how he managed to get the gun inside the school which is protected by metal detectors.

Outside Stroger Hospital Tuesday evening, a family waited for word on the condition of a 14-year-old high school freshman. Jodele Woodfork was sitting in the back of biology class at CVS high school Tuesday afternoon when the student discharged the gun in the middle of the class. The bullet traveled through the shooter's thigh into Woodfork's leg. His mother wonders how the gun got into school.

"They got metal detectors. That does scare me," said Michelle Lewis, mother of gunshot victim.

Area 2 police have questioned the 15-year-old student they say brought the gun to school. Administrators say he and Woodfork are friends who apparently arrived at school late and never swiped ID cards or entered through metal detectors like they are supposed to.

"We hope that our camera system will help us determine which door they came in and at exactly what time," said Andres Durbak, CPS security chief.

After the gun went off, the 15-year-old left class and went outside, allegedly to try to hide the gun. A school officer followed him and recovered the 9mm handgun. The student claimed he found it on his way to school. Police say it is not clear to them where he got it or what he planned to do it.

"There are many different ways that kids will try to be inventive if they want to try to get a weapon inside the school," said Cmdr. Dana Alexander, Chicago Police Dept. "So it's not to say that the magnetometer wasn't working, it's just the fact that somehow or another they were able to get this weapon into the school."

Woodfork was held overnight Tuesday at Stroger Hospital as a precaution and is expected to make a full recovery.

Tuesday's was the second shooting on school property in less than a month. On March 22, two students standing in the parking lot were shot and wounded after a car pulled into the lot and an occupant opened fire, Bond said.

The students both recovered from their wounds, but no arrests were made, Bond said.

The academy, which opened in 1940, has about 2,000 students in grades 9-12. Students enter a three-year vocational career path in their sophomore year, including "majors" such as accounting, cosmetology, graphic arts and carpentry, according to the school's Web site.

The most recent school-related fatal shooting of a student in the Chicago area occurred in 2003 when 16-year-old Kenneth Porter was shot a few blocks from Proviso East High School in suburban Maywood, according to the National School Safety Center, which tracks fatal shootings at and near schools.

In 2002, 18-year-old Maurice Davis was fatally shot across the street from Englewood Technical Preparatory Academy, a Chicago public school, according to the center.

According to the center's records, seven Chicago Public School students have been fatally shot in or near their schools since 1992.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.)

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