CLEVELAND (WJW) – Classes resumed on Friday at John Adams High School for the first time since a student was shot and killed at a bus stop outside the school on Tuesday.
The way that 18-year-old Pierre McCoy was targeted by a gunman in a ski mask in front of dozens of witnesses is weighing on the minds of returning students and their parents.
John Adams senior Davonte Holeman told FOX 8, “That’s somebody’s son at the end of the day, so I feel bad about that. He didn’t deserve it.”
Davonte’s father, Joseph Holeman, added “I feel the same way, I think, that I would feel if it happened to my son. It could have been my son but for the grace of God, it could have been him.”
Although there was an increased presence by police and school security around the John Adams campus before and after school, some parents were not taking any chances in light of the fact that the killer who took Pierre McCoy’s life is still on the loose.
“I was concerned about his safety, but I felt most secure if I brought him you know, at least I expect the school to do their part, of course, but then I have to do my part by making sure he gets here safe,” said Joseph Holeman as he picked up his son outside the school.
Grief counselors were available throughout the day to speak with students and teachers struggling with McCoy’s death, but some students believe it was too soon after the murder to resume classes.
“They had us in a circle to talk about it. I feel like they should have just let us get the rest of the week off and made us come back on Monday. They could have helped the people that were actually grieving, you know, handle the situation better than they did,” said Davonte Holeman.
He added that there was an underlying tension among some students at John Adams on Friday, and that’s why he wanted to leave early and called his dad for a ride.
“They feel that person could come back any day, and I guess like I’m really just trying to get home and be safe, be with my parents,” he said.
In response to the murder, several new security measures are being implemented at John Adams.
Among them, Cleveland police will have now direct access to surveillance cameras outside the school.
In addition, there will now be stepped-up patrols before and after school and some bus schedules are being changed, so that students are not left standing at the bus stops for extended periods of time like Pierre McCoy was on Tuesday.
“I think they’re doing the best they can but it’s hard to deal with what they have to deal with. I think it has to be prayerful, I think it has to be divine help,” said Joseph Holeman.
A $5000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the gunman who took Pierre McCoy’s life. Tipsters are asked to call Cleveland Police homicide detectives or Crime Stoppers at (216) 252-7463.