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Lawyer: Teen jailed in US shooting not to blame

January 20, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 17-year-old boy charged as an adult in the shooting of two students inside a Philadelphia school gym isn’t responsible for the crime, his attorney said.

Charges against Raisheem Rochwell were based on surveillance video and witness information from the shooting Friday afternoon at Delaware Valley Charter High School, police said. One bullet from a gun Rochwell was holding hit two students, wounding each in an arm, police said.

But Rochwell’s attorney, Amato Sanita, disputed that account to reporters Saturday night.

“I’ve not seen that, I’m not aware of that, and from the information I have, I do not believe that is accurate,” Sanita said of the police version of events. He added that Rochwell “is not the person who will ultimately be responsible for this act.”

Rochwell has been charged with aggravated assault, carrying an unlicensed firearm, carrying a firearm in public in Philadelphia, possessing a firearm while a minor, possessing an instrument of crime, simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person.

He remained in jail Sunday and unable to post $500,000 bond. He faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 6.

An 18-year-old female student was shot in the back of her left arm, and the same bullet also struck a 17-year-old boy in the shoulder, police said. Both were treated at the Albert Einstein Medical Center. The female student was released Friday, and the boy was released Sunday.

Although police have stopped short of calling the shooting accidental, Sanita suggested it was — though he stopped short of using that word.

“Anything you’re hearing out there, this is nothing that involves anything intentional,” Sanita said. “We can make those comments right now, and that’s it.”

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