Girl, 16, charged in gasoline attack on 2 school guards

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Girl, 16, charged in gasoline attack on 2 school guards.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A 16-year-old girl poured gasoline on two Pennsylvania high school security guards and unsuccessfully tried to ignite it using a grill lighter, police said Tuesday in announcing charges against the girl. Wilkinsburg student Imani Knight-Brantley was jailed, unable to post $100,000 bail, after being arraigned Tuesday and charged as an adult with aggravated assault, risking a catastrophe, reckless endangerment and bringing a weapon onto school property. Knight-Brantley carried a 2-liter soda bottle filled with gasoline and the lighter in her hooded sweatshirt before attacking the guards, Brandon Murray and Leah Pyle, on Monday morning, Wilkinsburg police said in a criminal complaint. Wilkinsburg police Chief Ophelia Coleman said the girl was taken to the police station, but investigators were waiting for her family to arrive so they could interview her. Online court records don’t list an attorney for Knight-Brantley, who was interviewed by police while accompanied by her grandmother, the girl’s legal guardian, according to the complaint.

Police and Wilkinsburg School District officials did not release the girl’s name, age or grade, though school board President Ed Donovan told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that she was suspended on Friday after an unspecified incident. Although Knight-Brantley acknowledged pouring the gasoline on Murray — with some spilling on Pyle — she told police she had been provoked during a confrontation with Murray on Friday.

The school — one of the poorest in the Pittsburgh suburbs — has an after-school food program and the suspect returned at the end of the day to eat before milling about when other students began fighting that afternoon, Murray told police. Students at the seventh- through 12th-grade school in Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs were initially evacuated to a nearby community center, then dismissed so their parents and guardians could take them home, Camarda said. Under the plan, 200 or so Wilkinsburg students will be sent to an underperforming Pittsburgh school next school year, Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy, which has roughly 400 sixth- through 12th-grade students.

School spokesman Pete Camarda, who told reporters Monday that the girl hadn’t attempted to light the gasoline, said Tuesday, “As the day unfolded, we found out more and more.” The girl wouldn’t tell police where she got the gasoline, but she acknowledged confronting Murray on Monday, then throwing gasoline onto him, hitting the other guard and soaking the floor.

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