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NAKAMOTO: Suspect identified in St. Helena school killing; new details on what may have led to the shooting

10 months 1 week 1 day ago Thursday, September 14 2023 Sep 14, 2023 September 14, 2023 12:51 PM September 14, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

GREENSBURG - The WBRZ Investigative Unit has learned new information detailing what may have happened in the moments before a high schooler was shot and killed by his classmate this week.

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Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto has also learned the identity of the suspect: 14-year-old Christopher Williams, a freshman at St. Helena College & Career Academy. Williams is accused of murdering 16-year-old Vernon Gordon Jr. in a school parking lot shortly after classes let out Tuesday afternoon.

Sources say that on the day of the killing, Williams called his mother about a fight he had at the school. Later that same day, around 3 p.m., they spoke on the phone again, and Williams told his mother he was about to head home. 

Williams said he was then confronted by Gordon in the parking lot, and a fight ensued which led to the shooting.

Williams claims he was afraid nothing would be done if he went to school administrators about the situation, saying that Gordon was related to multiple employees, including the principal.  

The 14-year-old suspect told investigators he lives close to campus and drives himself there every day. His 13-year-old brother and cousin were reportedly in the car nearby when the shooting happened.

The weapon used in the killing was a Glock handgun with an extended magazine, and while investigators believe the gun came from Baton Rouge, it's still unclear how it ended up in the hands of a teenager in St. Helena Parish.

Law enforcement previously suggested that bullying may have fueled the violence but did not elaborate further on the case. The new details surfaced Thursday as the ATF, an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, is also getting involved in the investigation, sources say. 

Williams appeared in juvenile court Thursday morning. A judge in Tangipahoa Parish, which is part of the same judicial district, ordered that he remain jailed without bond. His charges include second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, battery, aggravated battery and possessing a firearm on school property.

Two other students were injured in the attack, one of whom was airlifted to a hospital in Baton Rouge. The school has scheduled a balloon release Friday night in Gordon's honor. 

The school system initially canceled classes Wednesday and Thursday, along with Friday's football game. However, the district's superintendent announced Thursday that the school would stay closed until Tuesday, Sept. 19.

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