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Shooting At Taft Was 'Robbery Gone Bad,' Police Believe

Police confirm a person was shot in the leg outside Taft Education Center, and that they are searching for shooter.

Ferndale Police Chief Tim Collins and Ferndale Schools Superintendent Gary Meier held a news conference outside of about 4:45 p.m. Thursday to provide updates on a shooting earlier in the afternoon outside the center.

"We believe at this time it was a robbery gone bad," Collins said. "But the matter is still under investigation at this time."

Around 3 p.m. a gunman approached the entrance of Taft Education Center, an alternative education building of about 370 students, and fired a gun at the victim, Collins said. The victim was shot in the leg and the shooter fled west on Fielding.

The victim was alert when he was taken to the hospital, according to Ferndale Police Sgt. Dennis Emmi.

The district confirmed that the victim was a student of Taft leaving the school.

The Ferndale Public Schools buildings were then put on lockdown as the Ferndale police scoured the backyards of the homes in the surrounding area.

Collins said the gunman removed his black hooding during the escape. "We brought in a K-9 tracking dog but were unsuccessful," Collins said.

A search of the area and homes surrounding the center was completed, and the area was pronounced clear by police. But Collins told residents that if they see anything suspicious "and someone without a coat in this weather" to call the Ferndale Police.

The gunman is described as a young black male wearing tan pants and boots, a dark hat and standing about 5 feet 9 inches tall.

Collins said he did not know if the suspect was a student or if he knew the victim

"I'd like to express my appreciation of the Ferndale Police," Meier said, kicking off the news conference.

On Tuesday, another incident involving a gun took place at Taft. A former student and a student fought. Some time after the fight took place, that same day, a group of four went into Taft and one of them pulled out a gun and pointed it down the hallway. Collins also said that the department did not know if the two incidents were related or not.

Athletic practices and events have been canceled but all other school activities are still taking place.

Any information about the incident call the Ferndale Police at 248-541-3650.

This article was updated at 11:02 p.m.

4:11 p.m.: Ferndale Public Schools release an email alert at 4 p.m.

Ferndale, Michigan – A student attending the Taft Alternative Education Center in the Ferndale Public Schools was shot in the leg in the school parking lot after school this afternoon.  The shooter, who is unknown at this time, is at-large in the community. 

The Ferndale Police have advised the district to lockdown schools where students were still in classes and not release them until notified by the police (University High School, Ferndale High School, Taft Education Center, Kennedy School and Roosevelt Primary School). Students who were on the bus already from Ferndale Middle School or Coolidge Intermediate School have been redirected to Roosevelt Primary School where parents can pick them up.

When the police notify us that this incident has been resolved, we will notify our school families, the community and the media.

3:45 p.m.: Police confirm that a student was shot in the leg at the Taft Education Center, a building that's part of the Ferndale Public Schools alternative education program, this afternoon.

The student, said Ferndale Police Sgt. Dennis Emmi, was alert when he was taken to the hospital.

He added that the investigation is ongoing.

There are two helicopters circling Taft, one of which is an Oakland County Sheriffs helicopter. All the Ferndale schools were locked down, according to reports from parents.

Deputy Superintendent Henry Gold, who was on site, said the district wasn't ready to make a statement yet. However the district did send out a robo-call to parents saying that the shooter was on the loose, parents are reporting.

According to a report on at the Daily Tribune, the police were searching for a suspect who was "wearing a light blue hat, light blue sweatshirt, and khaki pants."

The report said he was last seen going west on Fielding Street.

Witnesses Christine and Kelly Schaub said that they saw the victim lying in front of the Taft entrance, on the west end of the building. "They had oxygen on him when they put him in the ambulance," Christine Schaub said.

"It's sad when our kids can't be safe in their own schools," said Kelly Schaub.

Gold said the district is expected to make a statement.

On Tuesday, the Daily Tribune reported that a gun was pulled after a fight between a former student and a student was broken up.

Stay tuned to Ferndale Patch as this story unfolds.

Tim Bencsik December 12, 2011 at 01:01 AM
I can't disagree, people are rotten in every society and class to some degree; as far as leaving, I plan too! Not because of your advice though, but because i don't feel like being a statistic.. I saw Sgt. B. Brown and 4 police cars on West End, and another home invasion from what I can tell; with a busted open window! as for our Governor, you are generalizing on a tough situation; there is no money and tough choices, since congress, bad presidents and money printing/inflation and hand outs put this country in the poor house. Corruption in goverment, bailing out crony Wallstreet banks and Barack Obama with a load of BS. He is no different than GW. Bush in many ways... Just the same old stuff, and tax payers who actually work, pay for it! But that is life, and always will be. Since real capitalism died, Dysfunctionalism became the American way of life; there was no return to normalcy! The middle class was created by men like Henry Ford, then goverment got involved.... but if all communities are all alike, why don't you moveback into Detroit where you can really help all those poor people? We can hold a raffle to benefit the schools here in Ferndale; we can have a little guessing game/raffle off tickets of how long it takes for you to be victumized in Detroit? The person who guesses the crime and closest date of the crime wins? Sounds like a win / win situation?
Michelle Foster December 13, 2011 at 03:14 AM
"So the question isn't how do we remove guns, fists, and male genitalia from schools, but how do we prevent their improper use, not attract people likely to use them improperly, and not violate the rights and peeves of others perfectly cable of possessing all of them safely." I bet the answer to that is to close an educational facility in the area... wait... maybe its to run away from thugs (move, go to other school districts, be frightened).... hmmm.... OR!...maybe its to ban together as a sane, caring society to provide educational opportunities to those who need it most and create a plan (neighborhood patrol, businesses in the area to provide eyes on the street) to help protect our citizens from the mistakes that others (thugs!) might make. Treat the thugs (aka HUMANS/CITIZENS) with fairness and perhaps they will learn justice.
Thomas Gagne December 13, 2011 at 05:34 AM
For the moment, Michelle, we'll ignore the argumentum ad misericordiam of your reply because I'm sure your heart is in the right place. There are many things to be sympathetic toward regarding community schools, and as some of them are in conflict with each other sympathy is a better basis for charity than government bodies--there's no limit to the amount of money that could be spent on sympathetic causes and government must have limits--if only to leave room for real charity. But to your point, you're haste to jump to conclusions and put words in my mouth (or posts, as it were) assumes too much. I'm not necessarily interested in closing the school. I'm more interested in understanding what our school board and superintendent's intentions are with Taft, and if those intentions are aligned with the mission and purpose of school districts in general and the Ferndale School District (FSD) in particular. I will hazard an opinion that if a district's services do not primarily serve the residents within the district then perhaps we should examine those discretionary activities to understand their benefit to the district and taxpayers. For instance, what value does the Southfield adult-ed facility provide the residents of FSD? I understand why The University of Phoenix has classroom space in Troy, but I'm less certain how FSD's Southfield facility serves the interests of FSD or its taxpayers.
Michelle Foster December 13, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Though I quoted you, Tom, I was not only referring to your posts. I apologize for the confusion. I’m in the middle of finals week and was trying to say many things at once. Let me reiterate: “Thugs” are humans and deserve to be treated with the same respect. Fear doesn’t solve violence. Education does reduce crime. “A one percent increase in the high school completion rate of all men ages 20-60 would save the United States as much as $1.4 per year in reduced costs from crime incurred by victims and society at large. Such externalities from education amount to $1,170-2,100 per additional high school graduate or 14-26% of the private return to schooling.” [California Center for Population Research] (and yes, that is a statistic referring to high school graduation, not GED, but you get the picture) Create solutions to solve the problem at hand, while understanding the future outcomes. I would also like to know more about the Southfield location.
Brian Clark December 13, 2011 at 08:00 PM
Has anyone ever seen "12 Angry Men"?

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