Monrovia — Police in Monrovia are investigating two high school students of the Cy-Ed Christian School of Excellence for the murder of 16-year-old school mate on campus with a 9mm pistol.
The incident occurred during the early morning hours on Tuesday.
The victim was the daughter of Dr. Philip Ireland, head of Internal Medicine at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center.
Police informed journalists that they have in their custody the two students, Jovanus Oliver Turay, 16yrs and a person of interest, Matthew Gonkerwon, who are persons of interest to the police.
Family Demanding Justice
Hours after the incident, Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, uncle of the deceased, posted to Facebook, "Wow! My niece was gunned today at school by an idiot. Our families, (Grigsby and Ireland) demand justice for the untimely death of lil Precious Ireland."
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica on Tuesday, Atty. Grigsby said though the family will officially make a statement on the incident, as an uncle to the deceased and as a lawyer, he will ensure that justice is served in the untimely death of Precious Ireland.
"The kid demonstrated capacity to handle the weapon. He took out the round and recharged the magazine," Atty. Grigsby disclosed to FrontPageAfrica.
He, however, said the family awaits the investigative report from the police.
What the School Says
In a press statement, the school's administration expressed despair over the tragic accident. The school said the student took the handgun to school Tuesday morning.
"While a majority of the students were eating breakfast in designated locations, this student slipped away to show off the gun to a friend and it accidentally went off. Staff, emergency medical personnel, Police, and all responded quickly," the administration stated.
The police say Suspects, Jovanus Oliver Turay, 16yrs and a person of interest, Matthew Gonkerwon, 17yrs were picked up early Tuesday morning at 8:00AMs by the Anti Robbery Unit of the Liberia National Police.
Police preliminary probe conducted by the School's Principal, Mr. J. Emmett Chapin, revealed in his narration that he was urgently called at 7:45 AM by one of his colleagues of a shooting sound heard on campus. He further accounted that eyewitnesses and students saw the three seated in one of the classrooms listening to music via an earpiece and suddenly saw victim Precious Ireland lying unconscious after a gun sound.
The parents of the main suspect, Josia Saah and Sylvanus Turay (lives in the USA) have been cooperating to bringing their Legal Representations to extract statements from the suspected juveniles.
"Concern about the School's Safety" - Education Minister
While this situation remains a concern of parents of students at the Cyber-Ed Christian School of Excellence and those who have children at various schools, government through the Ministry of Education said it is concerned about the image of the school and the safety of other students.
Minister Sonii described the incident as 'strange' to the country, adding that the Ministry of Education will come out with official position on the matter Wednesday.
He said, "It was not an exchange of gun fire, but something shocking and has never happened in this country before. I will not use the term shootout, but tomorrow we intend to have a meeting at 10; we will get more feedback, because we will listen to the parents and police, and we will get the full story."
He added, "We tried gathering whether she was only wounded, but the police said she died. With this kind of tragedy, the students will not be in school any time soon until they can have a meeting."
Besides, Minister Sonii maintained that Cyber-ED has moral sand will not allow students in classes, owing from such an incident.
"We would not allow students to be in school immediately. That will be determined next week, by the fact that such an incident took place in a school that has a lot of students from different places.
I don't know how to describe it, this is not an experience Liberia has had. It has never happened at any school in this country. Again, anything can happen and anything is possible, but I am old enough to know that nothing of such has happened."
When quizzed about any punishment for the school, Minister Sonii refused to speak on that, noting that the police and legal practitioners will have to advised on what led to the situation.
He said the situation should serve as a warning to parents on knowing the kind of movies to show for their kids."
At the same time, Deputy Police Director for Operation, Marvin Sackor said the incident involves shooting and due to its nature, the case cannot be disclosed to the public until a full investigation is concluded.