Student shot by classmate pushed others out of harm’s way

The Coolidge Senior High School student who was shot Wednesday afternoon pushed several other students aside to keep them from being hit, even as he was being wounded several times, according to court papers.

The shooting suspect, identified in court papers as Brandon Smothers, 17, of Southeast Washington, was arrested after a brief chase minutes following the 3:15 p.m. shooting at the school, in the 6300 block of Fifth Street NW.

Smothers was charged as an adult with assault. During a brief appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday afternoon, he was ordered held until a hearing scheduled for Sept. 28.

The victim, also a teenager, was wounded in the right leg, left hip, left leg and buttocks, according to court papers. His injuries were not deemed life-threatening, police said.

Police and school officials said the shooting, which occurred near the school football field, stemmed from an argument between Smothers and the victim in a classroom earlier Wednesday.

A friend of both said the argument was about who was better-dressed. According to court papers, Smothers told police that he had been in an ongoing dispute with the victim.

Witnesses reported seeing Smothers and the victim arguing outside the school building minutes after the school day’s final bell. After a time, according to court papers, Smothers produced a black handgun, and he told police that he left school to retrieve the gun from a regular hiding place in a nearby alley.

“You ain’t about this,” the victim said, according to court papers.

Then, police were told, the shooting began, after which Smothers fled.

Students who had not left the building before the shooting were put on lockdown until police secured the crime scene. Detectives said they recovered a gun, which court papers say was dropped in a yard as Smothers fled.

During Thursday’s hearing, Magistrate Judge Karen A. Howze cited the hidden handgun and a criminal history — which was not discussed openly — as reasons to commit Smothers ahead of his next hearing.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of intern Chandra Levy.
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