BRICK – A shooting outside Brick Memorial High School has residents asking a lot of questions. How did the victim get back inside the school if the school was in lockdown? How did police respond? Are we safe? Police sat down with The Brick Times a week after the shooting for answers.
The Oct. 22 shooting occurred just after the school’s dismissal and wounded a 16-year-old student, who then ran back to the high school. Once there, the student, who was bleeding from his shoulder, was let into the school by a fellow student.
“I don’t think we can’t prevent someone from helping someone who is in need of assistance, especially medical assistance,” said Police Chief James Riccio.
The injured student, who was not the intended victim, is expected to make a full recovery (Riccio said they think they know who the intended victim was).
The school’s resource officer Detective Tim McCarthy was still on the grounds of the school when he got a radio call from police dispatch telling him that shots had been fired at the school.
Shortly afterwards, he received updated information that there had been an injury. Patrol units arrived and joined McCarthy within moments, Riccio said.
The police established a perimeter at the high school and at the nearby Lanes Mill Elementary School to be sure students would be safe, and until they were more sure about what had transpired, he said.
Some of the students leaving the elementary school were reportedly crying as they were released to their parents or as they boarded school buses.
Stacy Diblasi, whose son is in second grade at Lanes Mill Elementary, said her son was happy to see her and her husband waiting for him at the bus stop when he got off the school bus that day.
“He didn’t know a child had been shot, and I’m grateful for that,” she said. “He found out the next day. This is their new normal, and that’s sad,” she added.
Her son told her the school had been on lockdown, and he didn’t get scared until he saw the yellow police tape outside.
“I believe the police did an excellent job, and the teachers did an excellent job,” Diblasi said. “As a parent, it was terrifying, but this is what we have to deal with.”
She said the Brick Memorial student who opened the door for his wounded schoolmate did the right thing.
“Do we want these kids to grow up thinking everyone is going to harm them?” she asked. “That’s no way to grow up.”
The day after the shooting, police arrested a 17-year-old after executing a no-knock warrant in Asbury Park. A second teen from Brooklyn, aged 16, turned himself in on Oct. 26. He had previously lived in Asbury Park and Brick, Riccio said.
Riccio credited the apprehension of the 17-year-old to “old fashioned detective work and talking to people,” assisted by video footage from home security systems in the area.
In the days following the shooting, Brick police stepped up patrols and special enforcement in areas known for criminal activity, which led to the arrest of 19 individuals in a three-day period.
“People need to understand, the best security we put in place won’t stop someone who wants to come in anywhere and do harm, we can only mitigate it,” Riccio said. “We try to limit the number of people that are hurt or killed, and we’re trained to get there quickly and neutralize the person who is doing harm.
“It’s important for people to know, we are not the crime capital people are making us out to be,” Riccio said. “There were a couple of high-profile incidents, but you can’t define our community on those incidents. It’s an unfair statement.”