By Adam Martin
A 16-year-old high school student who was shot and injured at a Church Street bus stop at 1 p.m. on Tuesday might have had been involved in a confrontation earlier in the day before the shooting.
"There had been some kind of confrontation. We’re not clear if it had happened at school or elsewhere, but there may have been some confrontation between the victim and the perpetrator," San Francisco Police Lt. Colleen Fatooh said at a news conference Wednesday. Fatooh runs the department’s School Resource Officer program, which places officers in The City’s schools.
On Tuesday, a gunman fired across Church Street into a crowd of students who were waiting for a bus after summer-school classes ended at Mission High School. The crowd scattered, according to police, and the victim was shot in the back as he ran away. The suspect, described as a black male, 6 feet 1 inch tall, with dreadlocks tinted orange at the tips or roots, was last seen running east on 16th Street.
Police have not announced that they have identified a suspect, but an investigation continues involving the department’s juvenile division and gang task force.
Students from across The City attend remedial summer classes at Mission High School. The victim of Tuesday’s shooting attended John O’Connell High School during the 2004-05 school year as a sophomore. Police initially put the victim’s age at 14, but that was later changed to 16.
O’Connell principal Janet Schultz said the victim transferred to Ida B. Wells Continuation School last year. Schultz described the victim as a nice kid with no disciplinary problems.
Police Chief Heather Fong Wednesday identified the mixture of neighborhood identities at Mission and other San Francisco schools as a safety problem.
"We have to acknowledge that there are young people who do not get along," Fong said Wednesday. "These are young people (among) whom, unfortunately, there are constant disputes and some of these disputes are resulting in situations where extreme levels of violence are occurring."
Fong said the department is working to ensure safe schools by assigning extra school resource officers and looking at the possibility of moving students who have conflicts.
Classes at Mission High continued normally Wednesday, but extra officers were present, including three motorcycle officers who oversaw the school’s dismissal.
Mission High School students Cedric Bowser and Mariah Lee said Wednesday that Mission High School officials and faculty did not announce or discuss Tuesday’s shooting.
"I don’t think the school emphasized it enough," Bowser said.
Lee said students were sad, but more aware of the violence that hit close to home. However, she said, "there’s a lot of absent kids."
Principal Kevin Truitt said school officials decided not to have an assembly or officialannouncement because "there are more questions that we couldn’t answer than questions we could."
He said teachers and staff were speaking to students about the incident on an individual basis, but that holding an all-school event where most questions couldn’t be answered "would raise (students’) anxiety, not lower it."Examiner Staff Writers Bonnie Eslinger and Joshua Sabatini contributed to this report.