Teen charged in subway shooting had been suspended from school for marijuana possession

Posted: September 23, 2012

Darryl Lanier, the 15-year-old charged with shooting two teenage boys on a crowded SEPTA subway train, had been suspended Tuesday for marijuana possession at Upper Darby High School, police said.

The next day, he was on the Broad Street Line when two groups of teens got into an altercation. Lanier stepped out of the train at the Susquehanna-Dauphin station and walked to the next set of doors, where he opened fire, police said.

Lanier, who is charged as an adult with attempted murder, was being held Friday on $2 million bail.

Investigators initially reported that the altercation involved students at Simon Gratz High School, Fels High School, and Hartranft School.

A 17-year-old Fels student was shot in an arm and a 14-year-old Hartranft student was shot in a leg, police said.

When Lanier's parents surrendered him to authorities Thursday, police said it appeared Lanier did not attend school.

Lanier, however, was attending Upper Darby. He transferred last November from Gratz, said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.

He had to provide a letter describing his circumstances, Chitwood said. Lanier told the school he was living with his sister, now 22, in the 500 block of Snowden Road in Upper Darby, Chitwood said. Lanier said that his father lived in Philadelphia and that his mother was dead.

"It was a ruse" to get into Upper Darby High, Chitwood said. The school was about to expel him because of that, Chitwood said.

On Tuesday, the school called Upper Darby police to report that Lanier had been caught with marijuana. He was arrested and issued a citation, Chitwood said.

Unable to attend classes Wednesday because of his suspension, Lanier returned to Philadelphia.

The subway altercation and shooting were related to a previous fight, police said.

Both shooting victims were taken to Temple University Hospital. The older teen has been released from the hospital.

The 14-year-old was transferred to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and was still in critical condition Friday.

Lanier also is charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, burglary, trespassing, and gun possession.

Contact Jessica Parks at 215-854-4851 or jparks@philly.com.

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