15-year-old charged in fatal shooting of student outside of Pittsburgh school

PITTSBURGH — A student is dead and another is facing homicide charges following a shooting outside of Oliver Citywide Academy in Pittsburgh Wednesday morning.

Jaymier Perry, 15, is accused of shooting and killing his schoolmate Derrick Harris, 15, before classes were due to start.

Photos from the scene

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The incident:

A ShotSpotter alert was received around 7:25 a.m. for 11 rounds total in the area of the school, located at 2323 Brighton Road in the city’s Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood.

According to police paperwork, there is surveillance video that shows both Harris and Perry near the front steps of the school. Police say the video also shows Perry assaulting Harris while he’s already on the ground.

When officers arrived, they found Harris, who had been shot multiple times, and immediately began rendering aid, according to Cmdr. Richard Ford of Pittsburgh police. Harris was transported to a local hospital in critical condition but later died.

Another officer saw the potential suspect running from the scene with a gun and took him into custody in front of the school’s parking lot.

The suspect was later identified as Perry. Police said they found a 9mm gun on him that belongs to his mother.

Perry has been charged with criminal homicide, possession of firearm by minor and firearms not to be carried without a license. He’s currently being housed in the Allegheny County Jail.

It’s just unfathomable”: Reaction from Parents and Students

Officials told Channel 11 most students hadn’t yet arrived for the day. Those who did were eventually sent home.

Students who did arrive at school were loaded onto buses and sent to Manchester Elementary School, only about a mile from Oliver Citywide Academy.

Oliver Citywide Academy senior Aidan McDowell told Channel 11 that during his ride to school, the bus suddenly started going a different direction than normal.

“It took a different route around, and I was like what’s going on? I got off by the gas station. There were cops everywhere. I asked what was going on and he said there was a shooting and that I should go home,” McDowell said.

“We have to address what is making these kids so angry that they want to kill each other. I don’t think that’s something that the district alone can begin to process without the community involvement,” McDowell’s mom, Traci Darin, said.

Aidan says a lot of his classmates hang out outside Oliver in the morning before being let into the school.

He and his mom would like to see that change.

“For this to keep happening, it’s just unfathomable, and I’m like shellshocked because it could have been my son,” Darin said.

Parents with elementary school students were shocked and heartbroken as well as they dropped off their kids.

““How could someone so young even think like that that I want to take someone’s life?” Keaira Wallace said.

“The violence is everywhere, and my heart goes out to the teachers and to the parents because I can’t even begin to fathom what they’re going through,” Darin said.

16 Months Ago:

Over a year ago, on Jan. 19, 2022, Oliver Citywide student Marquis Campbell, 15, was shot in a van outside the school. He later died at a hospital.

Brothers Eugene Watson, 18, and Brandon Watson, 17, are charged in connection to his murder.

“I’m like this is the second time this has happened. This shouldn’t be happening,” McDowell said.

Pittsburgh Public Schools & Mayor Ed Gainey react:

A Pittsburgh Public Schools spokesperson released the following statement following today’s shooting:

“This morning during arrival, a Pittsburgh Oliver Student was shot. After being transported to the hospital, the student later died due to injuries he received in the shooting. Our thoughts and prayers are with the student’s family. Our schools are designed to be a safe place for teaching and learning. Today, that was not the case for a student who was on his way to school to get an education.

Pittsburgh Oliver is currently closed, and all students have been transported to Pittsburgh Manchester for a safe reunification with their families. City and School Police are currently investigating the shooting. Out of respect for the student’s family, we will not be providing any further comment on this unfortunate matter. Thank you.”

Mayor Ed Gainey also released the following statement on today’s shooting:

“Pittsburgh, please join me in prayer for the family, friends, and the entire Oliver Citywide Academy community as they are once again mourning a young life taken by gunfire. I’m proud of the quick response by our Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, who were on the scene within minutes and were able to apprehend the suspect. Thank you for your continued work in making Pittsburgh safe.

No child should ever have to fear going to school, and no parent should ever worry about their child never coming home. We are working with our Community Violence Intervention teams to provide help and support to students, and we will do all that we can to connect the family to support services.

As a society, we have to reclaim our children, and we have to begin putting our children first. We have cultivated a culture of violence and death, celebrated guns, and glorified shooting. We have failed as a country to stop the proliferation of guns, and it is far too easy for a young person to get those guns and retaliate in the way our culture has glorified it.

Pittsburgh, we can and must do better. We have to cultivate a new culture, create a new path forward for our kids, and we are committed to investing in our kids to provide them with hope for a better tomorrow and a future that doesn’t end with bullets and gunfire.

If you want to be a part of our work to end violence in our city, join us. Call us. We are willing to work with everyone who wants to be a part of the solution.”

Oliver Citywide Academy will be remote learning until Tuesday, May 30, Pittsburgh Public Schools announced. All activities at the school, including athletics, are cancelled.

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