2003-09-26 / Front Page

School Officials Mum On BCHS ‘Riot’

Billiard Ball In Sock Used As Weapon
By Brian Magoolaghan
School Officials Mum On BCHS ‘Riot’ Billiard Ball In Sock Used As Weapon By Brian Magoolaghan

The city’s Department of Education remained silent this week about an incident in which nine Beach Channel High School students were arrested, last Friday, following a riotous attack on three other students.

Although The Wave placed several calls to the New York City Department of Education’s Public Information Office regarding the incident, those calls were not returned.

Two young men received minor injuries, in the incident, and one was sent to a local hospital after he sustained a hematoma, head swelling, and lacerations.

Meanwhile, the five males arrested, Leggin Jeffries, Carlos Roach, William Smalls, Leon Davis, and Marvin Mitchel, all age 17 or 18, were charged with three counts of third degree assault, second degree rioting, fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon, and three counts of second degree harassment. Four juveniles were also arrested; their names were not released, and at press time, it was not clear what they would be charged with.

The trouble erupted at just after 9 a.m. as three students, Howard Merkerson, Roy Castillo, and Lumar Hill­ard, were walking together near the school. The three were surrounded by the defendants, and several others that the police were not able to apprehend, according to the district attorney’s (DA) office.

Roach allegedly charged at Merk­erson, then began punching and kicking him, even as he fell to the ground, according the DA’s office. Castillo tried to come to Merkerson’s aid, the DA’s office said, but Davis threw him to the ground as others began to beat on him. The group also pummeled Hillard’s head with a sock containing a solid billiard ball, the DA’s office said.

School Safety Agent Derek Irby told authorities he recovered the homemade weapon from a room where Roach, Smalls, and Davis had been held.

Jeffries, Roach, Smalls, Davis, and Mitchel will be prosecuted by Queens County DA Richard Brown’s office, while the city’s Corporation Counsel will handle the juveniles in Family Court.

Days after the event, the City Council’s Committees on Public Safety and Education held a joint meeting supporting legislation that would require greater surveillance of schools. Councilmember Peter F. Vallone, Jr. introduced legislation that would require the Department of Education and New York City Police Department to install more video security cameras at all entrance/exits to all public schools.

At an earlier meeting the two committees discussed "alarming figures" that show an increase in robbery, weapons possession, assault, and criminal mischief.

"Cameras can be cost-effective and valuable additions to a comprehensive school safety plan," said City Councilmember Eva Moskowitz, chair of the Education Committee.

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