Utica Superintendent Discusses Saturday Shooting, Shot Security Officer Named
The Acting Superintendent of Schools at the Utica School District talked about Saturday's shooting outside the Proctor Football game, and safety plans moving forward during an interview Monday morning with WIBX's Keeler Show.
"It certainly is something you wouldn't want to happen anywhere, whether it's a school or a public place. It certainly is shocking that this is the new reality in our world," said Davis. "The issue becomes how do we as a society address this holistically so this can never happen again."
Davis is talking about a shooting that happened after the Proctor Football game in Utica, outside the security perimeter at about 4:21 PM Saturday. Police have arrested a 16-year who they say is the shooter and several additional arrests are still possible, almost exclusively involving juveniles. During the shooting, a male security officer was shot in the back of the head as he tried to break-up a fight. The officer, who's name has now been made public by the district - Jeff Lynch, is listed in critical but stable condition at St. Elizabeth's Hospital. Police say he is expected to make a full recovery.
Davis confirmed that security stopped a group of kids from entering the stadium. After the game, that same group was outside the stadium and is believed to have caused the fight, and ultimately the gunshot.
Utica Police Lt. Mike Curley told WIBX on Monday morning that they are scouring through several social media videos of the event which allowing them to identify other people involved in the incident, including youths brandishing knives at the scene. Curley said New York's Bail Reform and Raise the Age have played a role in tying law enforcement's hands when it comes to placing youthful offenders in jail after committing gun crimes. While he said he couldn't say much, he did say the 16-year-old shooter who they have in custody has had "run-ins" with the law perviously.
Curley also confirmed what a witness told WIBX about the shooter, which claimed that he wasn't aiming the gun at the security guard or any one single person, that it seemed as if he had simply fired the gun into a crowd of people. Curley also said the weapon used in the shooting has not been recovered. They believe it could have been thrown in someone's backyard. He advised anyone who comes across a stray handgun refrain from touching the weapon, and call police immediately.
Davis called the security team and the officer who was shot - heroes. She says that their efforts along with the Utica Police Officer on duty at the time, definitely saved additional lives. She added that the school's safety protocol worked, as security officials denied the group of juveniles that included the shooter access to the stadium.
Moving forward, all extra-curricular activities are cancelled for today. Additional, students must show identification in order to enter the school. Meanwhile for at least the next week, only parents will be allowed to attend games, events, and sporting events. A long-term policy will be discussed this week with the district and the Utica Police Department.
Listen to the complete interview with Kathy Davis below.
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