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Teen-age Boy Holds Schoolgirls and Teachers Hostage

July 6, 1993

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) _ A teenage boy brandishing a fake gun and three knives held 35 schoolgirls and their two teachers hostage for 30 minutes Monday before surrendering, police said.

The youth burst into the top-floor classroom at Handsworth Wood Girls School in Birmingham and smashed computers, windows and furniture. No one was injured.

″He took off his gloves and his hat and he washed his face and then he goes ’Who wants to die first?,‴ Marsha Blissett, one of the students, told Independent Television News.

″Then he asked quietly who all the Muslims were and nobody answered. Then the girl standing next to me - she’s a white Muslim - she started to panic saying, ’Oh God, oh God, oh God,″ said Marsha, who is black.

″I was just going like, ’calm down, calm down,‴ she said.

Police said a motive for the attack was unclear. Armed police surrounded the school while negotiators persuaded the youth to surrender after releasing most of the pupils, who are ages 13 and 14. His shotgun turned out to be fake.

The unidentified youth was being held by police Monday night.

British Muslims have been among the victims of a growing number of racial attacks.

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