Student shot after graduation plans to attend Shaw

June 18, 2008 7:13:41 AM PDT
Police say 18-year-old Khiry Caldwell was shot minutes after his graduation ceremony.

Investigators say that Caldwell was lucky, because he will survive the gunshot wounds he suffered Tuesday afternoon outsite Temple University's Liacouras Center and still be able to play basketball someday for Shaw University in North Carolina.

Doctors say Caldwell is recovering from a cracked rib and a bruised lung. He told his grandfather after surgery, he's grateful the bullet didn't strike his spine.

Caldwell was among the 117 Strawberry Mansion High School seniors who were being graduated during commencement exercises at the Liacouras Center. At around 4:19 p.m. Tuesday the graduates, their families, teachers and administrators were leaving the center when police say a fight started outside. Temple University Police were attempting to break up the ruckus when shots rang out, and Caldwell was shot in the back.

Amin Caldwell, Khiry's father, says his son was an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire. "Here we had a graduation, my son's graduation," Amin told Action News, "He's going away to college in less than 8 weeks and now he's lying in a hospital bed shot."

As for how the fight started, Philadelphia Police Captain Laurence Nordiff told Action News, "We believe the fight is a result of an ongoing dispute between 2 groups of Strawberry Mansion students."

Commissioner Chuck Ramsey added, "Some of these guys, I mean, they're thugs. They don't care and they're going to do what they're going to do, so that's how bad it's getting out here."

The victim's father who is a youth worker for the city's town watch umbrella group sums it up this way: "These senseless shootings, this senseless violence for nothing... This is crazy. It has to stop."

Philadelphia Police have been questioning several students in connection with the shooting. So far there's no word on what, if any, charges will be filed.


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