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Corporal Raymond Bennett Identified As Officer Who Struck Janaya Richards of Watkins Mill H.S.

2:42 PM, Sep 22, 2012   |    comments
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GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WUSA) - Counselors will be at Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg on Monday morning.

A 15-year-old student was hit by a county police car Friday. Police were responding to reports of fights at the school during a football game. The fights broke out after Watkins Mill High School had played rival Clarksburg High School. According to Capt. Paul Starks of Montgomery County Police, Richards stepped off onto a curb off Apple Ridge Road between two moving cruisers as lights and sirens flooded the scene. Police say the girl was struck by the second cruiser. Capt. Starks said as of midnight, the teen was conscious. 

Fifteen-year-old Janaya Richards was struck by a police cruiser Friday at about 9:14 p.m. driven by Corporal Raymond Bennett. Bennett is an 18-year veteran assigned to the 5th District. 

Officer Bennett was placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation is conducted. Three other officers who assisted in providing emergency care to the teen were also placed on paid administrative leave. 

The high school principal, Scott Murphy, released a statement on Saturday (see below) informing that the 10th grade student is now in guarded but stable condition and is alert and talking with doctors.

According to Capt. Paul Starks of Montgomery County Police, Richards stepped off onto a curb off Apple Ridge Road between two moving cruisers as lights and sirens flooded the scene. Police say the girl was struck by the second cruiser. Capt. Starks said as of midnight, the teen was conscious. 

Watkins Mill Principal Scott Murphy released this statement on Saturday, Sept. 22:

Dear Watkins Mill Community,

I am writing to update you on the serious incident that occurred after the football game on Friday, September 21. Following the game, 10th grade student Janaya Richards was struck by a police vehicle on Apple Ridge Road in the area near our school. I have been in close contact with her family and the hospital throughout the night. As of this morning, Janaya remains in guarded but stable condition, and is alert and talking with doctors. I know the entire community joins me in wishing her a speedy recovery and is keeping her family in our thoughts and prayers.

The police are conducting a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding this accident. What we do know at this time is that the police were responding to reports of fights in the neighborhood after the football game. It is important to note that the game ended without incident, most spectators had left the school campus, and the reports of fighting took place off school property in a neighborhood near our school. A strong police presence was already in place, as a result of collaboration with the police department that takes place at each football game. Additional officers were responding to the area when the accident occurred. We will be awaiting additional details as a result of the police investigation. As we move forward, I will ensure that the community has an opportunity to be informed and ask questions about the facts surrounding this incident.

In the meantime, I want to assure you that counselors and support staff will be available on Monday to provide support to students as needed. Homecoming preparations will continue as planned and will culminate with the next football game on September 28 and the dance on September 29. While our primary concern rests with Janaya, her family, and our student body, I can assure you that every possible measure will be taken to ensure that Watkins Mill remains a positive, safe school environment where our students thrive and our community feels a sense of pride.

Thank you for your support.

Scott Murphy
Principal
Watkins Mill High School

Mr. Murphy's released a statement late Friday:

Dear Watkins Mill Community,


I am writing to inform you of a serious pedestrian accident that occurred after the football game at Watkins Mill on Friday night. As game spectators were walking down Apple Ridge Road to go home after the game, a 10th grade female student was struck by a police vehicle that was travelling on Apple Ridge Road. Medical personnel, as well as school officials, immediately responded to the scene. The student was transported to a nearby hospital and is in serious condition.

I would like to thank the police, fire/rescue, students, parents, staff, and community members for your swift and supportive response to this unfortunate accident. I know you join me in keeping this student and her family in your thoughts and prayers. Please be assured that the police will continue to investigate the facts surrounding this incident, and additional staff will be on hand first thing Monday morning to support students as needed.

I will keep you updated as we learn more throughout the weekend.

Scott Murphy,

Principal

Watkins Mill High School

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