A 17-year-old was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for shooting a classmate last year in the parking lot of Coolidge High School.
Brandon Smothers, of Washington, D.C. – charged as an adult with one count of aggravated assault while armed – pled guilty in Oct. 2012, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Smothers and an 18-year-old victim were involved in a verbal altercation inside their classroom on Sept. 19, 2012, at which point Smothers was escorted out of the classroom and subsequently left the school premises. The victim remained in the classroom following the altercation.
As classes let out for the day, Smothers confronted the victim in the parking lot – located in the 6300 block of 5th Street, NW – as he was preparing to board a school bus.
The two exchanged words, which led to Smothers pulling a semiautomatic handgun from his waist and pointing it at the victim’s chest. The victim turned and ran, but was shot by Smothers four times in the lower body.
Other students were in the parking lot at the time of the shooting, but were shielded from gunfire by the victim. The school was placed on lockdown.
Police officers saw Smothers fleeing the scene on foot and stopped him in the 100 block of Rittenhouse Street, NW. They were able to recover the firearm used in the shooting along the path Smothers had been taking, as well as shell casings from the scene of the crime.
The victim was taken to a local hospital and treated with emergency surgery for his wounds.
Smothers later acknowledged shooting the victim to police.
“This case demonstrates how quickly a gun can escalate a classroom squabble into a life-threatening confrontation,” U.S. Attorney Machen said. “When parents send their kids off to school, they should never have to worry that their child could be caught in a hail of gunfire during their school day.”