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Univ. Shooting in Cleveland Wounds Two

May 9, 2003

CLEVELAND (AP) _ A man wearing camouflage and carrying a high-powered rifle opened fire inside the Case Western Reserve University business school Friday, wounding at least two people and sending others rushing for cover.

Police sealed off the sprawling Peter B. Lewis Building after the shooting began about 4 p.m. The gunman was believed to be inside, along with an unknown number of terrified students and faculty who locked themselves in rooms.

``We’re all shaking and quite scared. One of the girls in our office is seven months pregnant _ we’re trying to keep her as calm as possible,″ Tracy Warner, 30, told The Associated Press from a third-floor office where she was hiding with several other people.

Police begged the gunman to call them, but by early evening, two dozen SWAT team officers wearing helmets and bulletproof vests had moved inside.

``We’re very hopeful we can bring this to an end,″ Police Chief Edward Lohn said.

One of the wounded was taken to a hospital with a gunshot wound to the buttocks, school spokeswoman Marcie Hersh said. The other remained inside the building in unknown condition.

A student who escaped, Sachin Goel, 26, was standing near the cafeteria with two friends when the gunman approached and opened fire. One of his friends screamed as he was hit, and the others dove for cover under a table.

``He couldn’t get us. And then he again shot as we turned the table and put it in front of us,″ Goel said. ``He was indiscriminately firing at everyone and a sane person would not be doing that.″

Police said the man was believed to be wielding a high-powered rifle.

``He was just walking, aiming his guns and firing,″ said LeKisha Spencer, 28, who works in the first-floor cafeteria. She said he was carrying a ``machine gun″ and book bag, and was wearing a camouflage shirt and military-style green hat.

Albert DiFranco, 26, an assistant alumni director, said he was returning to his first-floor office when he saw drops of blood and broken glass on the floor outside his door. People shouted down from a second-floor mezzanine to get out.

``I ran out,″ he said. ``People were saying, ’Go go go!‴

Among those who locked themselves inside building was Dick Bennett, director of development at the 1,600-student Weatherhead School of Management. Speaking from a room where he was holed up with eight other faculty members, he said he believed there were 40 to 50 people inside but few students because finals were completed last week.

Administrative assistant Bonnie Copes, 50, was locked in a department office inside the building. She said she heard repeated gunshots.

``Rounds and rounds and rounds,″ she said.

Case Western has 9,500 students. The $62 million Lewis building, designed by Frank Gehry, opened last fall and is about five stories high. Instead of walls on the south side, it has a curving roof, made of 20,000 stainless-steel shingles, that seemingly tumbles to the ground.

The building is named for the billionaire chairman of Progressive Insurance, who gave Case $37 million toward construction of the building.


On the Net:

Peter B. Lewis Building: http://www.weatherhead.cwru.edu/pbl

Case Western Reserve University: http://www.cwru.edu

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