But the campus was rocked by a number of high-profile incidents. Bishop Ireton High School '96 Alexandria, Va. But while robberies were down by nearly 30 percent, high-profile crimes hit Penn's campus hard yet again, climaxing in a March 1 shooting outside the Palestra that killed a North Philadelphia man and wounded three others, including a College senior. The year was also punctuated by the evening shooting of College senior James McCormack in November; the early-morning assault of a Penn Health System secretary inside her office in January; and the morning stabbing of a Penn groundskeeper outside the Wawa at 38th and Spruce streets in February, two days before the Palestra shooting. That shooting, which made national headlines, was a late-afternoon gunfight on 33rd Street outside Hill House following the Philadelphia Public League basketball championship. College senior John La Bombard, 22, was struck in his left thigh by a stray bullet that penetrated the thin walls of the Blauhaus, a blue fine-arts building on 33rd Street near the site of the shooting. La Bombard, interviewed later that week, said, "I'm just glad it didn't hit my penis." Philadelphia Police have arrested two South Philadelphia men in the shooting. Detectives with the city's homicide unit say the shooters had a preconceived plan to kill Anthony Davis, 22, a convicted drug dealer from North Philadelphia who had "bad blood" with a group of men from South Philadelphia. Kyle McLemore, 21, of the Grays Ferry section of South Philadelphia, turned himself in two weeks after the shooting under the counsel of his lawyer. He was held on charges of murder, conspiracy, aggravated assault and related charges at a hearing March 26. Meanwhile, police with the Philadelphia Police fugitive unit arrested another 21-year-old South Philadelphian, Nate Ortiz, on May 12, after pursuing him for more than a month. While detectives said the dispute between Davis and the South Philadelphia "gang" was over a girl the North Philadelphian was dating, McLemore's lawyer Charles Peruto, who maintains his client's innocence, called the dispute a "drug war." Davis, McLemore and Ortiz all had lengthy criminal records which included drug charges and weapons violations. They had been feuding for weeks prior to the basketball game, according to witnesses at McLemore's hearing, and had even been thrown out of the Palestra for a fistfight at the beginning of the second game in the girls-boys doubleheader. But the incident brought mass media attention to Penn and to the Public League championships, which brought gunfire -- but no injuries -- to the area around the Palestra last year. Riots have occurred at the games in the recent past. The University is still evaluating whether hosting the championships again next year at the Palestra -- which had to install metal detectors for the championship this year -- presents a security risk too grave to undertake. The stabbing of Broderick Barnville, a 31-year-old University groundskeeper, at 7 a.m. February 27, also brought local media attention to campus -- and a change in the policies of the Wawa, the 24-hour convenience store outside of which the stabbing occurred. Once a place where homeless, panhandlers and patients of nearby rehabilitation centers like the Veterans Administration Medical Center methadone clinic could gather for morning coffee and conversation, Wawa now closes off its bathroom and seating area to customers between the hours of 2 a.m. and 10 a.m. -- as per the request of its landlord, the University. According to a manager at the Wawa, the order came in early March, shortly after Barnville was stabbed -- by a man witnesses said was a "regular" who was possibly homeless or mentally ill. But University Police have yet to find the man who sliced one of Barnville's major arteries, nearly killing him. Two other suspects in high-profile crimes of the 1997-98 school year currently await trial. Larry Ray, 28, was arrested in February after allegedly assaulting Penn Health System secretary Toby Laiken, 53, at about 5:15 a.m. January 19 inside her office in the Penn Tower Hotel, which Ray was allegedly burglarizing. And Keith Schofield, 33, awaits trial after allegedly shooting McCormack in the abdomen during a failed carjacking outside of the student's girlfriend's house on the 4200 block of Pine Street as he was leaving at about 9 p.m. November 24.Comments powered by Disqus
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