Gang behind some attacks at Coral Springs High School, mother says
Police say city has 'zero tolerance' for gang activity
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – A South Florida mother was outraged when she saw a video of a recent attack against a student at Coral Springs High School and said this isn't the first time an incident like that has happened at the school.
"I had to call you guys and let you know that they are not the only victims. There are more victims," Shekita Johnson said.
Johnson, who works as a dispatch supervisor for the Miami Police Department, showed Local 10 News investigative reporter Bob Norman a video of her son being assaulted at the school.
"I saw my son trying to walk away and this student walks from behind him and completely punches him," Johnson said.
Johnson filed complaints with the school and with Coral Springs police.
"They were going to review the video (and) talk to some other students and see if they are going to identify them, but nothing has been done," Johnson said.
She also learned that the attack on her son was related to the so-called Zoe City gang, which she said is plaguing the school and menacing her son.
"I don't want my son going to school in fear for his life every day and the staff is constantly dropping the ball and not doing anything," Johnson said.
Coral Springs police Capt. Brad McKeone confirmed that the Zoe City gang, which consists of predominantly Haitians, is an ongoing problem at the school and in the city and said the police department is doing everything it can to stop them.
"They know who some of these individuals are," he said, adding that youths affiliated with the gang are suspected in numerous burglaries and robberies outside the school campus. "If again an altercation occurs, especially with them, there's zero tolerance we take with them."
McKeone said one problem has been that Johnson's son hasn't provided the department with the identity of the attacker, but Johnson said he doesn't know who it was that assaulted him.
"If we can get this individual's name then we would make an arrest," McKeone said.
Police did make an arrest in the attack caught on video that prompted Johnson to speak out, but that case too is under investigation in regards to 14-year-old Stephanie Sheltra, who is seen on the video trying to stop the fight.
That girl remained in the hospital Tuesday with what her father, Marc Sheltra, said has been diagnosed as a severe concussion. He said she was slammed into a wall by a bystander off-camera while trying to help the victim, a friend of hers.
He said she couldn't remember what happened after that, other than going to the aid of the victim, who was violently slammed head first to the floor and was convulsing. He said only later did severe bruising and an injury to her lip begin to show on her face, indicating that she too was punched, kicked or trampled during the melee.
McKeone said the department's investigation has confirmed she was thrown against a wall, but that no other witnesses could confirm that she was beaten. He said the department is investigating whether those injuries may have come at a later time, something she and her father adamantly deny.
"If we get information that it did occur off-camera during that initial incident then we will make an arrest and follow that up," he said.
McKeone said police and the school are doing everything they can to keep the school safe, but Johnson points to other videos that have been posted online showing violence on the campus. She said more needs to be done.
"I deal with this and I work with this every day and it's hitting home now," Johnson said. "It's a complete nightmare."
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