The Journal News is reporting that a recent employee of the school district has been arrested in Ohio, charged with shooting a man five times in Steubenville, Ohio, on April 20. The victim, Charles King Jr., died later at Pittsburgh hospital. According to the JN, Rasool Hassan Williams worked as a a motor equipment operator for the New Rochelle school system from July 2008 until just a few weeks ago. The district declined to comment other than to confirm his last day of work was March 23rd.
According to local TV in Ohio:
Steubenville police are searching for the person responsible for a fatal shooting early Tuesday. Charles King Jr., 29, was killed Tuesday outside a home along North Eighth Street, police said. Witnesses said they saw a person running from the scene at about 7:20 a.m. The victim was first taken to Trinity Medical Center West. About an hour later, he was airlifted by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital where he died.
An Steubenville resident told a reporter, "what's most shocking is that the shooting happened in broad daylight where children often play."
Motor Equipment Operators in New Rochelle work for John Gallagher who runs the Buildings and Grounds department, the source of repeated problems with employees stealing supplies, working no-show jobs, misappropriating (stealing) school equipment including trucks and vans. Williams is the second person who worked under Gallagher that has been arrested in the past year. Vito Costa plead guilty to crimes related to working a no-show job as an HVAC engineer; as part of the deal he is required to make tens of thousands of dollars in restitution.
Sure to raise questions among parents and other New Rochelle residents is just how and why the New Rochelle schools given Rasool Hassan Williams lengthy rap sheet. According to the JN, Williams has been arrested four times since 1994 including misdemeanor drug charges, stolen-property charges and a burglary charge. Perhaps given the state of the Buildings and Grounds department, Williams history of stealing was considered an asset. The shooting in Ohio was reportedly the result of a dispute over drugs.
Talk of the Sound would like to know what sort of criminal background checks are being done that would allow someone with Williams criminal past to be employed in the first place. It remains to be seen whether parents are going to be satisfied with "no comment" from the District. At the very least, the district is going to need to clarify its policy of hiring known criminals.