March 8, 2001
volume 12, no. 67

Catholic high school shooting called shocking

By Catholic News Service

    WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (CNS) -- A Scranton diocesan spokeswoman called the March 7 student shooting at Bishop Neumann High School in Williamsport a ``sad and shocking'' reminder that violence can occur anywhere.

    An eighth-grade girl suffered a bullet wound in the upper arm. The alleged shooter, who was in police custody, was also an eighth-grade girl.

    Maria Orzel, diocesan communications director, told Catholic News Service that Bishop James C. Timlin of Scranton, who is a pilot, left Scranton immediately to fly out to Williamsport, about 75 miles west.

    Bishop Neumann, one of nine Catholic high schools in the Scranton Diocese, has about 230 students in grades 7-12.

    The shooting occurred in the cafeteria during the first lunch period, 11:30-noon, when the seventh, eighth and ninth graders were at lunch, Orzel said.

    ``The students fled the cafeteria. Some fled the building, others barricaded themselves in other rooms,'' she said.

    She said the principal, Paul Ward, and assistant principal, Judith Fulmer, went to the cafeteria right away ``and talked the young lady into putting the gun down.''

    The victim was first taken to Williamsport Hospital and then flown to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

    Orzel said she was told by Father Andrew Kurovsky that police told him they had informed the victim's parents that their daughter had received only a surface wound in the arm. Father Kurovsky, pastor of St. Ann Parish in Williamsport, is president of the school's board of pastors.

    Police did not immediately identify either the victim or her assailant. Orzel said since both were juveniles, she would leave the question of identification to the police.

    The attack in Williamsport occurred only two days after a ninth-grader killed two and injured 13 in a shooting spree in a high school in Santee, Calif.

    Orzel said such violence ``is unfortunately a situation, I'm afraid, that every school -- whether it's a Catholic school, a private school or a public school -- has to be prepared for and deal with.''

    She said during the afternoon the students were being interviewed by police at the school and then sent next door to St. Boniface Church to be picked up by their parents.

March 8, 2001
volume 12, no. 67
USA News
Return to Today's Issue