An employee of JP’s English High School (EHS) is charged with attempting to murder an EHS student in Roxbury on March 3 in a shooting related to drug-dealing, according to Suffolk County District Attorney spokesperson Jake Wark.
Shaun Harrison, 55, was working as “dean of academy” at EHS at 144 McBride St. at the time of his alleged shooting of a 17-year-old student whose identity has not been released. Harrison allegedly got the student involved in a marijuana-dealing ring, then shot the student when the relationship soured.
Harrison was “terminated” from his EHS job, which was an administrative position, Boston Public Schools (BPS) spokesperson Denise Snyder told the Gazette. He had just started the job in January.
But it turns out that his firing was for another violent incident involving a student at English High the same day as the shooting. According to the Mayor’s Office and BPS, Harrison got into a “verbal altercation that resulted in him pushing a female student following a fight among students” at EHS on March 3. Snyder said Harrison would have been terminated for the shooting charges, but BPS already had the wheels turning on his firing for the pushing incident.
Harrison’s personnel records show he previously was disciplined for other violent or inappropriate incidents with students, according to BPS.
Mayor Martin Walsh said in a press release that BPS officials would conduct a “comprehensive internal inquiry” about Harrison’s employment. He also said that a meeting for EHS parents would be held sometime this week.
More counselors and Boston School Police officers have been added at English High, the Mayor’s Office said.
“The charges against Shaun Harrison are extremely disturbing, and I am greatly concerned because of his role with students at English High School,” Walsh said in the press release. “It’s critical that, in addition to a criminal investigation, we take a thorough look at his employment within our public school system to ensure that we are taking the necessary steps to protect students throughout the city.”
According to prosecutors, Harrison ran a marijuana distribution enterprise and had enlisted the victim to work for him.
On March 3, prosecutors allege, the two left Harrison’s Pompeii Street residence and were walking on Magazine Street at about 7:15 p.m., when Harrison shot the victim in the back of the head with a handgun. Harrison allegedly fled the scene on foot. Surveillance footage from a nearby business captured the incident.
The victim was transported to Boston Medical Center and is expected to survive his injuries.
“Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our students,” BPS Interim Superintendent John McDonough said in a press release. “English High School is filled with committed and caring educators who go above and beyond for their students every day. This school community is strong and its students and teachers have my unwavering support. We are taking appropriate steps to support students and to keep a focus on teaching and learning.”
Harrison is charged with armed assault with intent to murder, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, carrying a loaded firearm, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Harrison is being held on $250,000 bail. Judge David Poole also ordered Harrison to stay away from and have no contact with the victim, wear a GPS monitor, and remain on home confinement in the event that he is released on bail.
Boston Police detectives investigating the shooting traveled to Harrison’s residence, where they observed Dante Lara, 24, Wilson Peguero, 23, and Oscar Pena, 19, leaving the building. Officers detained the men and allegedly found they were in possession of marijuana, firearms, and a police scanner. Their connection to Harrison and his alleged drug enterprise remain under investigation, but two of them bore tattoos similar to one Harrison has, prosecutors say, and prosecutors believe they were present at the residence to remove evidence.
The investigation into Harrison’s alleged drug ring remains active, Conley said. Harrison will return to court April 6.