Berks

4 teens charged in after-school fight that hurt 3 in Reading

READING, Pa. - Four teenagers have been charged in connection with an after-school fight that left three people injured in Reading City Park.

One of the 16-year-old suspects was charged as an adult with aggravated assault, according to RPD Capt. Paul Reilly. The other three teens were charged with disorderly conduct.

The fight, initially reported to police as involving between 50 and 60 juveniles, broke out around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday in an area of the park near the Citadel, the city's intermediate school.

"When they're getting out, like I obviously heard about the fight from Wednesday night, there's always a lot of crowds crossing the streets, and the kids just walk out in the middle of the street," said Felecia Jones, a mother of two who lives blocks from where it happened.

Two of the victims suffered superficial stab wounds; the third had a head injury, according to a district spokeswoman.

Officials did not identify the victims, who were treated by nurses at the Citadel until paramedics arrived.

The fight brought about a reaction from the school district. Officials said safe schools personnel and administrators conducted full searches on each student entering the building Thursday morning. That led to some lengthy delays.

"As the district evaluates today's full search process, the need to address the procedures when full searches are conducted of the entire student body will be reviewed," said Khalid Mumin, the district's superintendent.

One student said the search process makes him feel safe.

"Yeah, I'm a little afraid, but I always know that the Citadel is a very secure and tight place, and they always check people," said Joel Ovalle-Rosado Jr., an eighth-grader at Reading Intermediate High School.

But he still has concerns.

"Sometimes, there's a little bit of issues when I get home, on the news. Sometimes I hear bad stuff happened," said Ovalle-Rosado Jr.

A heavy police presence was on hand as the school sent students home early Thursday. No issues were reported.

As for the student we spoke with, he said he'd like to see more adults present during dismissal.

"Usually, there's just a big crowd of kids around and it's very tough for the teachers to get to the fight," he said.

The police activity in the park prompted the school district to postpone its Winter Wonderland event Wednesday night.


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