No motive had been established Tuesday evening for the violent spree that began at the Excel Institute. Police said they had found no indication the attack was linked to the rash of shootings that have plagued the 5th Police District in the last month.The next day former Excel student Wesley Johnson was arrested and charged with a number of crimes:
“We just know that he was very agitated,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.
The shootings occurred shortly before D.C. Councilman Harry Thomas, Jr. held a press conference downtown announcing plans to stem the attacks in the Fifth Ward. There have been 17 homicides in the area this year, seven coming in the last month.
Wesley Johnson, 27, of Fort Washington, Md., faces numerous charges, including two counts of assault with intent to kill, two counts of armed carjacking, and assault on a police officer. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court.The Institute posted an open letter about the shooting on its homepage.
D.C. Police say Johnson walked into the Excel Institute on V Street, Northeast, just after 2 p.m. and shot School Director Henry Schultz in the face, then went outside and shot a female student before carjacking a vehicle and heading toward Capitol Hill. Both injuries are considered non life-threatening.
LETTER TO THE EXCEL INSTITUTE FAMILY
April 30, 2008
We apologize for the informality of this note, but the events of Tuesday demand that we communicate with you with urgency and transparency.
We want to begin by thanking you for your concern about these sad events as well as your support over the past 10 years. As you might understand, Tuesday was one of the worst days of the school’s history. Henry Schultz, our chief operating officer, and a woman visiting the school were shot by one of our students. We are happy to report that neither sustained life-threatening injuries and the perpetrator was apprehended without further serious injury.
Everyone associated with our school is in a state of shock – we have never had any incident that could rival such a tragedy. We welcome guests, former students and others in our community, and at this point do not plan to change the openness and environment that has served us well during the past 10 years. Nonetheless, we want to assure everyone in the Excel family and residents of the Washington D.C. metropolitan area that we will do everything in our power to find out why this happened and make changes if necessary. Paramount is making sure this does not happen again.
In the days ahead we will continue to pray and come together as a community. Classes have been cancelled for Wednesday, April 30, 2008, but students and staff will return to Excel for regularly scheduled classes on Thursday and Friday. Excel is in the process of coordinating counselors for faculty, staff and students who will be available from 8 AM – 4 PM on both Thursday and Friday.
In the past 10 years we have changed hundreds of lives and in the future we are confident that over time that number will move to thousands. We could not have done this without your support. Please know that the staff and students have truly rallied and come together as we work to overcome the shock of this event and move back toward a “business as usual” mentality.
Jack Lyon and George Starke
The Excel Institute