Georgia school where 6 were shot reopens
May 24, 1999
CONYERS, Georgia (CNN) -- Students returned to classes at Heritage High on Monday, four days after a 15-year-old sophomore armed with two guns wounded six classmates at the suburban Atlanta school.
The alleged gunman, Thomas "T.J." Solomon Jr., remained at a youth detention center, where he was under a 24-hour suicide watch, according to defense lawyer Ed Garland.
Only one of the six victims remained hospitalized Monday. Stephanie Laster, 15, still has a bullet lodged in her abdomen, but was in good condition at an Atlanta hospital.
As students arrived on Monday, dozens of deputies and state troopers guarded and helped direct traffic at Heritage High School in Conyers, east of Atlanta.
Principal Lowell Biddy said no extra security was planned inside, except for a few parents who had volunteered to be in the hallways.
Not many students stayed away, although attendance figures were not expected until later in the day. Some students hugged in the parking lot before they went inside.
"I expect that a lot of students will come just to be consoled by their fellow classmates," Biddy said.
The students were given extra time in home room on Monday morning to receive and sign their yearbooks. Final exams, scheduled for this week, are now optional for Heritage students.
Authorities are expected to decide this week whether to try Solomon as an adult for Thursday's shootings.
Fellow students have said he was despondent over a recent breakup with his girlfriend.
Don Samuel, another defense lawyer for Solomon, said the suspect is "virtually unable to remember anything at this point." He said that the youth had been taking Ritalin, a drug commonly prescribed for hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder.
Asked if Ritalin may have played a factor in the shooting, Samuel said, "I don't have a clue."
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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