Missouri Police officials confirmed Wednesday that a 17-year-old boy was fatally gunned down at a school bus stop after witnessing a previous murder. KMOV reports that around 6:20 a.m. on Tuesday, James Scales left his home and was on his way to catch the school bus in Kingsway East neighborhood when shots rang out.
Scales, a junior at Beaumont High School, reportedly tried to run to safety but he collapsed when he reached his home. When emergency medical services arrived at the scene on North Euclid Avenue, he was not breathing nor was he conscious, police say. Paramedics performed CPR, but the teen succumbed to his injuries about an hour later at an area hospital.
His mother, who heard the shots, stated that Scales was shot more than a dozen times.
A neighbor, Sonnie Williams, recalled hearing shots all night and says that it’s common in the Kingsway East neighborhood, adding that “all night, all you hear is shooting, cars, and police. Basically, around here it’s like Afghanistan…seriously, it’s scary.”
Officials say that Scales witnessed the murder of 18-year-old Dwayne Clanton, of Glasgow Village, Missouri, on December 26. At around 9:45 p.m. officers found the victim’s body on Lexington Avenue with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Keith Christopher Graham, 19, was charged with Clanton’s murder, and he is set to go to trial in November. Investigators are now trying to determine if the two crimes are related.
Scales’ mother said her son would normally wait for the school bus on their front porch. She believes that the gunmen may have lured him away from the home in an attempt to gun him down.
The teen was described as a talented singer and dancer who was also a good fighter. His mother stated that she tried to direct his talents toward boxing but was unsuccessful. She went on to say that her son was enrolled in a special program at Beaumont High School, which is for students who have difficulties learning in a traditional school setting.
Candice Boyd, an educator who is said to be in charge of Beaumont High School’s special program, stated that “violence touches so many people.”
“It’s tough on everyone. It’s tough on, of course, the families; it’s tough on school officials because we see these kids every day. They come in our doors, we’re working with them, we’re connecting, we’re bonding with them, so it is a huge loss and it is a shock for us.”
Crisis counselors were made available at the school for students and teacher to help deal with Scale’s untimely death.
Homicide detectives have canvassed the area in an effort to find out more information, but it has been unsuccessful. St. Louis Police Major John Hayden stated that they do not have any witnesses at this time.
An investigation is ongoing.
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