Police Release Video of SuccessTech Shooting
CLEVELAND (AP) - His face concealed by a white hooded sweat shirt, the determined student gunman climbed the enclosed staircase with his cache of weapons in a backpack, heading toward a shooting rampage against classmates and teachers.
Strikingly clear photos pulled from surveillance cameras and released Thursday show Asa Coon as he moved around SuccessTech Academy on Oct. 10, when he wounded two teachers and two high school classmates before killing himself.
The initial scenes from the color cameras are a model of an orderly school day: students walking past poster displays heading to bright blue lockers and into classrooms as a janitor collects trash bags.
Coon, 14, wearing a black T-shirt after changing in a restroom, emerges with weapons in both hands, his arms extended at an angle, pointing into one classroom, then another.
Terror begins to emerge in the staccato image sequence of students - seen from different angles in different hallways - turning sharply away. One, arms flying, almost falls to his knees as he digs in his heels to flee in a blur of self-preservation.
Three girls huddle near the end of a hallway looking, one extending her arms in a lifesaving push to get the girls down another corridor.
Coon walks down a hallway, stops to look into a classroom and disappears inside for perhaps 15 seconds.
The rampage is recorded for 1 minute and 22 seconds - from the time Coon left the restroom where he changed clothes and armed himself to the time he disappears from camera view, said police Lt. Thomas Stacho. Final scenes show officers, weapons drawn, ducking into classrooms looking for the shooter.
Coon's body was found in a corner room on the fourth floor of the school, which also houses administrative offices. Two still images as he crosses the camera view from left to right in a moment are the final record of his life.
Authorities blamed the rampage on several possibilities, including Coon's anger over being suspended for fighting and his irritation over flunking a history course.
Coon was a troubled, angry youth who had received the suspension just days before he returned to the school and opened fire.
The video shows two of the four victims getting shot, according to a police analysis. The scenes are not overtly graphic because the violence is captured by cameras about 100 feet away.
"People deserve to know what happened, so we wanted to put the information out there," Stacho said.
Police previously said that a review of security video shows Coon simply walked into the school carrying a bag. He passed a substitute armed security guard, who did not confront him.
Two days after the shootings, schools CEO Eugene Sanders submitted a revised security plan to Mayor Frank Jackson that includes metal detectors and security guards in all of Cleveland's 110 school buildings. Each school also will be reviewed by a professional security firm.