BALTIMORE — A Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School student was fatally shot Friday afternoon in a parking lot at the school.
Baltimore City Public Schools said the incident happened about 2:53 pm during dismissal.
Students were leaving for the afternoon when the victim was confronted by a student from a different school in the parking lot, Harrison said.
The confrontation became “heated” and the suspect produced a gun and fired multiple times, Harrison said.
Baltimore City Schools Police officers who were outside at the time of dismissal chased the suspect and apprehended him, Harrison said. A weapon was recovered near the area where the suspect was arrested.
Harrison declined to name the high school where the suspected shooter is enrolled.
The victim was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead at 3:26 pm, Harrison said.
Multiple students told WJZ the victim was a football player. Afterschool activities at the school, including a football game scheduled for 3:45 pm, were canceled, the school district said. More than 1,700 students attend Mervo.
A resident who lives near the school told WJZ she walked outside her home just after 3 pm because she heard a lot of commotion and saw students screaming and running away.
Mayor Brandon Scott said he and Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises addressed Mervo students about the shooting. Some broke down and cried upon hearing the news.
“But we want them to know they’re loved and supported, and that we’re going to be here to make sure, as they being to heal, no matter how long that takes, that we’re going to be here for them ,” he said.
Santelises said counselors were on-site for Mervo students and staff and would be present at the school next week.
“I did not think that this would be how I would be ending the first week of what, by and large, has been a successful opening of schools,” she said. “Our hearts go out to the family that has just received the news about their child.”
Santelises emphasized to families that the school system’s safety plan was in place during dismissal when the shooting occurred.
“And it was because of the swift action of our Baltimore City Public School police officers that the suspect was apprehended within seconds of the incident,” she said.
The union that represents school resource officers said their officers were armed at the time of the shooting because it was during dismissal and because they were outside of the school building.
Harrison said the incident is emblematic of a common problem in Baltimore City: easy access to guns and “the willingness to use them just to solve conflict.”
“This is conflict resolution, or the failure to solve conflict in a peaceful, sensitive way, but rather someone using a gun that they are not allowed to have in the first place to solve their conflict and take out their anger on someone else,” he said. “And now the community is at a loss.”
Scott called on Baltimoreans to help mentor young men and show them there’s another path.
“Get up, get out there, get involved, get off your ass and get involved with these young people,” he said. “Because we can’t keep seeing this over and over and over again. There are too many young people that are being harmed in our city, but there are also so many others that are out there just waiting for someone to care for them, to show them a better way, to help them grow into the best version of themselves.”
A member of the Baltimore Teachers Union said educators need more support.
“We need to prepare and equip staff not just to process their own trauma but to also be a resource to students who may have witnessed a violent incident,” said Cristina Duncan Evans, the union’s teacher chair.
Annie Rose Ramos