Charter school shooting heightens calls for community action, say leaders

councilman kenyatta johnson
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson
Credit: File photo / Rikard Larma

Just days after a shooting at Delaware Valley Charter High School in Logan injured two students, a rally against gun violence in Gray’s Ferry is being planned for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson said in a statement that the school shooting, and two separate shootings that killed two men in Southwest Philadelphia just minutes apart and a few blocks from each other, drove him to organize the rally.

“When I learned that two students in North Philadelphia were shot inside their school it added to my growing concerns about the prevalence of gun violence throughout this city,” Johnson said in his statement. “Shootings involving young people in environments where they are supposed to be safe should be a major concern to all Philadelphians.”

“My concerns continued to mount as we learned that same day two young men were killed by gun violence within minutes of each other in Southwest Philadelphia,” Johnson continued.

Johnson’s rally will involve community leaders and members of the 12th police district gathering at 61st Street and Buist Avenue at 2 p.m., the sight of one of Friday’s shootings in Gray’s Ferry. Afterwards the group will move to 62nd Street and Grays Avenue, the site of the second shooting, for a second rally.

Meanwhile, police have charged the shooter at Delaware Valley Charter as an adult for the shooting which left two of his classmates injured.

Raisheem Rochwell, 17, 7400 block of Rugby Street on the border of West Oak Lane and East Mount Airy, reportedly turned himself in to police.

Rochwell was charged Saturday with violation of the uniform firearms act, recklessly endangering another person and having a weapon on school property.

Police said that the incident occurred when a gun was fired just before 3:30 p.m., went through an 18-year-old female’s arm, and then hit a 17-year-old male in the shoulder.

A Philadelphia Police Department spokesperson decline to provide further details about the shooting today.

“I’m very thankful that the injuries weren’t more serious,” Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, said. “But how did that kid have a gun and how did it get in the school?”

Goodman said that the shooting shows that kids know how to get around school safety measures, and said steps need to be taken in Harrisburg to reduce the number of guns in the city.

“If you put your kids in school in the morning, you don’t want to pick them up in a hospital,” Goodman said. “That’s as true for kids in the toughest neighborhoods in Philly as it was for the parents in Newtown, Connecticut.”

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