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Posted at 10:40 AM ET, 10/ 7/2010

Police investigate mace incident at Ballou

By Washington Post editors

Update, 12:15 p.m.

Lieutenant Renato Caldwell of the DC police school safety division said that the scuffle happened at 9:30 a.m. when a Ballou student who had warrants out for his arrest arrived at the school's main student entrance.

A police officer attempted to make the arrest after the student walked through a magnetometer, and the student fought back.

Caldwell said the police believed the student sprayed mace, though they were not sure if it was the student's own. The student also bit a school security officer on the arm. Both the student and the police officer were taken to a hospital and treated for mace exposure, and the security officer was at a hospital to be treated for the bite on his arm.

Caldwell said the incident was uncommon.

"We have little scrimmages and fights as we go on" at Ballou, he said, "but nothing like this."

He said the student, who was wanted for a probation violation in Virginia and another charge he did not disclose, would also be charged with assaulting a police officer "and some other charges."

He said he did not know if the student was carrying any weapons, and that the investigation was in its early stages.

-- Michael Birnbaum

Update, 11:45 a.m.

About a dozen police cars were parked outside of a quiet Ballou High School at 11:15 Thursday.

The assault, in which as D.C. police officer and a school security officer were allegedly sprayed with mace Thursday morning, appeared to have taken place at a secondary entrance to the school, behind a set of sturdy blue doors.

A police photographer walked in with cameras and tools; camera flashes soon started lighting up the entrance from the inside, which was crowded with police officers.

One worried grandfather drove to the school to make sure everything was okay.

"Somebody called me and told me," said Rickey Wooden, whose grandson is a sophomore at the school. He had heard someone had been maced. "I was just just worried about it."

Wooden said he didn't find safety at the school to be major problem.

"So far. It's kids just having an attitude with each other," he said.

Once he was satisfied everything at the school was OK, Wooden headed home.

-- Michael Birnbaum

Earlier post.

A D.C. police officer and a school security officer were sprayed with mace Thursday morning at Ballou High School, a D.C. police spokeswoman said.

Officers were called to the school just before 10 a.m. for the report of an aggravated assault, said Officer Istmania Bonilla, a D.C. police spokeswoman. She said a D.C. officer and school security officer had been "maced," but it was unclear immediately why or by whom.

More details will be provided as they become available.

Stay with

-- Matt Zapotosky

By Washington Post editors  | October 7, 2010; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, DC, Education  
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