Students return day after shooting outside Brashear HS; 1 victim remains hospitalized



PITTSBURGH - Students at Brashear High School in Pittsburgh returned to school Thursday, less than a day after a shooting outside the school injured three students.

Security was tightened and the school operated on a “modified lockdown,” which will remain for the rest of the week, school officials said.

"A modified lockdown means that only students, staff and visitors with a scheduled appointment will be able to enter the school building,” Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Linda Lane said.

“It was safer than normal,” Wesley Lebarty said after he left school Thursday. “It was basically the same. They kept everything normal except extra security in and outside.”

Lebarty showed Channel 11’s Jennifer Tomazic a letter that the district sent home to parents on Thursday. It clarified that the school was not in a week-long lockdown in October.

It also spelled out how parents should support their child after the shooting near the school.

“I got a phone call saying the letter was coming home,” mother Alisha Lebarty said. “I believe in the police, the city police and the school police. They’re well protected.”

Alisha Lebarty said she thinks the district keeps parents well-informed. She’s also glad to see extra officers.

The shooting happened just blocks away from the campus Wednesday. Investigators said the 16-year-old charged in the shooting “planned the ambush” as retaliation to a fight that happened at the school last month.

A.J. Willet was taken into custody shortly after the incident. Channel 11 News was there as he was taken from Pittsburgh police headquarters to the Allegheny County Jail late Wednesday night.

As of Thursday night, two of the victims were released from the hospital.

According to the criminal complaint, all three victims ran back to the school after the shooting for help.

“There was just urgency. There were just people running out. There were ambulances and cop cars. Everyone had to pull off the road. Everything like stopped,” Brashear High School senior Krystal Henson said.

Investigators said Willet was beaten up and robbed by a group of students on Oct. 18 as school was being dismissed. Homicide detectives said the motive for Wednesday’s shooting was in retaliation to that incident.

Sources told Channel 11’s Rick Earle that at least two of the victims of Wednesday’s shooting were involved in the incident.

According to a school spokesperson, two students assaulted Willet while a third served as a lookout.

Willet refused to cooperate and told police he would handle it himself, but investigators using video surveillance, gathered enough to file charges against the three students.

Police said Willet did not press charges against the students involved in the alleged beating last month and has not returned to school since the incident.

The criminal complaint stated that Willet was in the area of the school to walk a friend home Wednesday. Minutes after arriving near the campus, police said Willet walked through the woods toward Crane Avenue and stopped as a large group of students were walking along the roadway.

Willet’s friend told investigators that he turned away from him, heard gunshots, and saw Willet firing shots toward Crane Avenue.

Police initially thought there were several shooters, but later determined Willet was the only person involved.

Willet is facing several charges including four counts of attempted homicide.