Police continue to investigate how four juveniles who aren’t students at Joppatowne High School gained entry to the school Tuesday and assaulted a student in the cafeteria.
The four juveniles have now been charged in connection with the incident, according to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
Addressing the media late Tuesday afternoon, Capt. Mike Crabbs, commander of the Sheriff’s Office Community Services Division – which includes nine school resource officers under its umbrella – said the method and location where the juveniles got into the school was still under investigation.
“They made it into the school, made it into the cafeteria and confronted the victim,” Crabbs said. The incident occurred around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The 18-year-old Joppatowne High student who was assaulted was taken to a local hospital. Crabbs said he did not know the condition of the student, a male. Investigators had not determined if the victim was targeted, Crabbs said.
The four juveniles allegedly involved arrived at Joppatowne High in a vehicle that had been reported stolen earlier in the day, according to police. Two of the juveniles allegedly involved were picked up around Edgewood Middle School, police said.
A video of the cafeteria assault was posted on YouTube, Crabbs confirmed, saying that he had watched it and it is part of the investigation. He declined to comment further.
“The video speaks for itself,” Crabbs said. The video was not on YouTube Wednesday morning and apparently had been taken down from the site.
In response to questions about school security, Crabbs said the Sheriff’s Office works closely with the school system’s Office of Safety and Security.
“We do learn from [incidents] that occur,” he said.
Crabbs said there is a challenge presented to administrators and law enforcement by the arrival of juveniles who are the same age as students at the school. Joppatowne has 713 students, according to the Harford County Public Schools website.
“They look like anybody else that’s on campus,” he said of the suspects.
In addition to each being charged with disrupting school operations, the following charges have been filed against the alleged assailants, according to the Sheriff’s Office:
A 14-year-old male is charged with assault on the victim, assault on the SRO, trespassing at Joppatowne, disorderly conduct at Joppatowne, disobeying a lawful order and fleeing police.
A second 14-year-old male is charged with assault, disorderly conduct, trespassing at Joppatowne.
A third 14-year-old male is charged with assault, trespassing at Joppatowne and trespassing at Edgewood Middle.
A 15-year-old male is charged with theft of an automobile, trespassing at Edgewood Middle and Joppatowne High and assault.
The 15-year-old, who allegedly stole the, car was taken to Hickey School, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Crabbs shared some additional details of the sequence of events once the fight happened in the cafeteria.
He said the school resource officer assigned to Joppatowne was walking with the principal when the officer heard a call over his radio about the incident, and he spotted one of the juveniles, whom he recognized was not a Joppatowne student, while responding to the cafeteria.
The officer confronted the juvenile, who ran away. The officer chased him while several other youths were running about at the same time, Crabbs said.
The officer pursued the juvenile outside of the school on foot and called for backup. Patrol deputies in the area responded, and all four suspects were caught about a quarter of a mile away in the area of Renee Drive.