Flash: B-Tech Senior was Shooter, Says Principal

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday May 16, 2008 - 05:05:00 PM

The 17-year-old student from Berkeley Technology Academy (B-Tech) who was shot Thursday a few blocks from school underwent surgery and his injuries appear to be non life-threatening, authorities said Friday. 

Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Mary Kusmiss told the Planet that detectives were following leads on a suspect in the shooting, who she said was another teen. 

The B-tech student was shot near Martin Luther King Jr. and Dwight Way around 3 p.m. Thursday—right after school let out—after which he flagged down a B-Tech teacher who drove him to Highland Hospital. 

The teacher then stopped BPD officers on the way to the hospital. 

B-Tech principal Victor Diaz told the Planet the injured 17-year-old was a junior at the school. He said the teenager who shot the junior was a senior there. 

“I know that there had been some words exchanged outside the school between the two about three weeks ago,” Diaz said Friday. “School staff was trying to talk with them about it and engage in some mediation. The sense was that even though we were talking and working to bring the families together there was tension between them. On Thursday they both walked right by my office and we made eye contact. Ten to 20 minutes later I got a call from one of my teachers that one of them had been shot.” 

Diaz said he ran out to find the students when he got another call informing him that the junior had flagged down a teacher who was driving him to Highland Hospital. 

Diaz said he did not know the reason behind the students' fight. 

“This kid [the senior)] just passed the exit exam,” he said. “He has a really good job and is very responsible. He is also a mentee for a couple of different organizations.” 

Diaz said the junior was a newcomer to the B-Tech community and had just started to open up to school staff.  

“We have to assume that the senior brought the gun into school and hid it somewhere,” he said. 

The B-Tech community held a meeting today (Friday) morning to discuss the incident. 

District Superintendent Bill Huyett sent over a school safety officer to the school. The City of Berkeley’s health department also sent over counselors to B-Tech today (Friday) to support staff and students. 

“We know that the kid who shot the junior is not involved with any gang or drug-related activity,” Diaz said. “We are all very sad and disappointed it happened. At the meeting, a number of kids expressed their encounters with violence. Sadly, it was a very high number of students.”