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Deputy fires Taser at 14 yr old girl accused of having knife

Orlando Sentinal | August 12 2005

An Orange County deputy stunned a 14-year-old with a Taser twice Thursday morning when, authorities said, the teen charged after her boyfriend with an 8-inch chopping knife at the gates of their school.

Ninth-grader Roshounda Cooper was careful to jot down a reminder that she planned to attack her Gateway School classmate Jamar Hinds, Sgt. Stan Taylor said.

"Remember to bring knife" read a note on the front page of a black spiral-bound notebook that Roshounda carried to school in a three-ring binder. They were breaking up, Taylor said, and on Wednesday night Roshounda told Jamar, 15, that she would kill him at school with a knife.

"She had planned it out in advance," Taylor said. Attempts at reaching Roshounda's family were unsuccessful Thursday night.

Roshounda didn't forget her plan, officials said. She boarded the school bus Thursday morning with the knife tucked into the waistband of her pants. She pulled it out when she exited -- before security screeners at the school for emotionally challenged students had a chance to check her for weapons, Principal Tom Oldroyd and Taylor said.

A commotion began.

A school employee saw the knife and shouted, trying to block the path between the girl and her boyfriend, said Oldroyd,who arrived soon afterward.

Cpl. Edd Gordon tried to stop Roshounda by grabbing her right wrist. But the teen switched the weapon to her left hand and continued to attack, according to a report.

"Drop the knife," Gordon commanded, according to the report. Roshounda lunged toward him.

Gordon pushed her away, drew his .45-caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol and aimed. She moved toward him again.

"Don't point that gun at me," Taylor quoted Roshounda's warning to Gordon. Gordon pushed her away a second time.

Roshounda held the knife within 4 feet of Gordon, ready to strike. Deputy Mary McFarland, who also was patrolling at the school, drew her Taser and fired. Roshounda dropped the knife and fell on her stomach.

McFarland hit the girl on her breast and side with the weapon's electric prongs. The girl kicked at a deputy as they tried to subdue her, so McFarland zapped the Taser a second time, Taylor said.

Deputies arrested Roshounda on one count each of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery on a law-enforcement officer and possession of a weapon on a school campus. State Attorney's Office officials will decide whether to charge her as an adult.

Although all school-resource officers are scheduled to be equipped with Tasers, Gordon had not yet received training for the weapon and did not carry one, Taylor said. Roshounda came so close to stabbing Gordon that agency policy would have allowed him to use his gun against the teen, Taylor said.

"He could have very easily used a deadly weapon," Taylor said. "But he didn't."

Jamar was unharmed.

No one was injured in the attack. Roshounda received treatment at Florida Hospital in Orlando to remove the Taser prong from her breast. That is standard procedure for anyone hit in a sensitive area, Taylor said.

Oldroyd said he was relieved the incident didn't end differently. The deputies did not hit Roshounda or use other unnecessary force, he said.

Classes for the school's 170 enrolled students continued without interruption.




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