DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit police say a 16 year old is clinging to life after getting attacked by a classmate at his charter school, apparently over a pair of shoes.
The incident happened Wednesday at Allen Academy on Quincy Street, in a northwest neighborhood off I-96 near Joy Road.
Police say the student, identified in reports as 16-year-old Willie Wallace, was violently attacked by at least one other student. Investigators believe it all stemmed from a previous altercation over a pair of expensive Nike Air Force shoes Wallace was wearing.
Wallace reportedly suffered a seizure, fractured skull, bleeding in his brain, and damage to his chin, cheek and neck in the attack, which went on for about five minutes. He was last reported in critical condition.
The attack apparently started as Wallace was walking down the hallway on his way to class. His mother told reporters that he was sucker-punched before entering the classroom, where other students allegedly joined in the attack.
A teacher was in the classroom and tried to break up the assault, police said, but was unable to intervene until the major damage was done. Police say part of the attack was caught on a security camera, but a majority of the attack took place in the classroom, out of frame.
Ivan Johnson, Allen Academy Board of Directors Vice President, told WWJ’s Chrystal Knight the school’s thoughts and prayers are with the student and his family.
“We are trying to get down to the bottom of the incident and what caused it and all of the surrounding circumstances,” he said.
Johnson said students will be reminded of the “zero tolerance” policy against violence as administrators discuss new methods to ensure student safety.
“Because of this particular incident, we are heightening some measures of security at the school to try to circumvent any future activity of this nature,” he said. “We enforce zero tolerance for this type of activity and altercations and violence. We really promote the safety of our students in trying to create an atmosphere and environment for learning for all of our students to become successful adults and citizens.”
At least one student who attacked Wallace, believed to be the main perpetrator, has been taken into police custody. It’s unclear what charges he may be facing.
Police said the incident remains under investigation. Other students could possibly be arrested in connection with the case.
Approximately 1,000 students attend Allen Academy, a K-12 school chartered by Ferris State University and managed by the Leona Group.