PHILADELPHIA – A 17-year-old who shot two classmates got the gun only moments before from an ex-student who bypassed metal detectors as a “guest” at the Philadelphia charter school, police said Monday.
Video footage shows the former Delaware Valley Charter High School student, 18-year-old Donte Walker, handing off the gun and exchanging money with an unidentified male Friday afternoon inside the school gym, police said Monday.
The gun then was passed to Raisheem Rochwell, who feared he was going to be targeted in an after-school assault, Lt. John Stanford said. Within minutes, Rochwell shot the two classmates in their arms, police said.
“I would think it would be required for anyone coming into the school to go through the metal detectors. You have children’s lives at stake here,” said Stanford, a department spokesman.
Police believe the victims, an 18-year-old female and a 17-year-old male, were struck by the same bullet. The male student spent two days in the hospital, but both have been treated and released.
Rochwell was being held on aggravated assault and other charges. His lawyer insisted over the weekend that he will be vindicated.
Rochwell “is not the person who will ultimately be responsible for this act,” said lawyer Amato Sanita, who added that anything that may have happened was not “intentional.” His client remained in custody on $500,000 bond, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Feb. 6.
School officials did not immediately return a call for comment Monday, when the school was closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. The school will resume classes today.
Police said they were working with school officials to identify the person who paid for the gun, but were proceeding slowly after the wrong student was arrested Friday evening based on a faulty identification by school officials, Stanford said.
“We don’t want an incident like occurred Friday, where a young man was taken into custody” who was not involved, Stanford said.
Walker was charged at a police station late Sunday with a weapons violation. It wasn’t clear if he had a lawyer.
Police also were still investigating whether Rochwell had actually feared an assault, and whether the gun discharged accidentally.
“If he’s a target or not of a fight after school, that’s still no excuse for him to have a firearm,” Stanford said. “At the end of a day, you play with a loaded gun, things will happen.”