October 21, 2014

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Teen shoots 4 at Cleveland school, kills self

CLEVELAND — A black-clad 14-year-old student gunman who wounded two students and two teachers at his high school before killing himself had a history of aggressive behavior and had previously threatened to commit suicide, a newspaper reported.

A fellow student at SuccessTech Academy alternative school said Asa H. Coon, who had been suspended for fighting two days earlier, was a “goth” who made threats in front of students and teachers last week.

AP
A family hugs outside the SuccessTech Academy Wednesday in Cleveland.

“He’s crazy. He threatened to blow up our school. He threatened to stab everybody,” Doneisha LeVert said. “We
didn’t think nothing of it.”

Armed with two revolvers, Coon fired eight shots and it appeared he may have targeted teachers, said Police Chief Michael McGrath.

He said police found a duffel bag stocked with ammunition and three knives in a bathroom.

Parents were angry that the firearms got into a school equipped with metal detectors that students said were intermittently used.

Coon had a history of mental health problems, according to juvenile court records obtained by The Plain Dealer. Records showed

Coon spent time in two juvenile facilities after a domestic violence incident and was also given home detention.

Coon was also suspended from school last year for attempting to physically harm a student, the newspaper reported.

Witnesses at the school said the shooter moved through the converted five-story downtown office building, working his way through the first two floors of administrative offices to the third floor of classrooms. He was wearing a black Marilyn Manson concert shirt, black jeans and black-painted fingernails, police said.

The first person shot, student Michael Peek, had punched Coon in the face right before the shootings began, said student Rasheem Smith, 15.

Coon “came out of the bathroom and bumped Mike and (Mike) punched him in his face. Mike started walking. He shot Mike in the side.” Peek, 14, didn’t know Coon had a gun, Smith said.

LeVert said she hid in a closet with two other students after she heard a “Code Blue” alert over the loudspeaker.

People in Coon’s home late Wednesday declined comment.

Coon had been suspended since Monday for fighting near the school that day, said Charles Blackwell, president of SuccessTech’s student-parent organization. He did not know how Coon got into the building Wednesday.

Math teacher David Kachadourian, 57, was in good condition at a local hospital; Michael Grassie, a 42-year-old history teacher, was in surgery, but his condition was unavailable.

Two of the injured teens were taken to a children’s hospital, which would not release their names, ages or conditions.