Lake Ridge middle-schoolers threatened, one assaulted, at bus stop
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org August 21, 2013 12:06PM
Updated: September 23, 2013 2:24PM
GARY — A group of Lake Ridge Middle School students were threatened and assaulted at a bus stop Wednesday morning by adults demanding cell phones and money.
The seven kids were waiting at the 24th Avenue and Gerry Street bus stop between 6:30 and 7 a.m. when a black four-door sedan, possibly a Chevrolet Impala, drove up with two men and two women inside.
Lake Ridge Superintendent Sharon Johnson-Shirley said the adults got out of the car and demanded the kids give them money and cell phones, or something bad would happen to them. When one of the girls said they didn’t have any cell phones or money and threatened to call police, a woman punched the girl in the nose and mouth, while the other female suspect hit her as well.
A resident of the neighborhood exited her home, saying that she had called police, so the suspects fled the scene. A male suspect referred to one of the women as “Lakiesha” and told her to get back in the car.
The girl, who suffered a bloody nose and lip, and her brother were taken to a nearby house to get cleaned up, their parents were notified and they got on the bus to get to school. The district alerted teachers and parents about the incident via the AlertNow system.
According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, students described the two male suspects as being in their late 30s or early 40s, while one of the female suspects was in her mid-20s, had dyed blonde hair in a pony tail and was wearing a pink shirt and jean shorts. The other woman was in her mid-30s, and was wearing a blue shirt with blue and purple pajama bottoms and a white and black hat.
Around the same time, Lake County police received a call from a man in the 6800 block of West 25th Avenue, who said he was approached by the same group and they were asking for directions. Also, a resident of 25th Avenue and Henry Street told police a sixth-grade student was approached at a bus stop by this group asking if the student had seen their lost puppy.
Johnson-Shirley said the district notified the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and Gary Police Department and the district will request more police presence near bus stops
“There is a concern now about our children getting assaulted at bus stops,” Johnson-Shirley said. “We’re going to have to be more vigilant through police presence or parents supervising.”
Anyone with information should contact Lake County Sheriff’s Department School Resource Officer Zabrina Harris at Lake Ridge Middle School at 980-0730.
Both of Kelley Thomas’s children ride the bus to and from school every day.
“I totally feel confident sending my kids on the bus every day (to Hosford Park Elementary and Calumet High School),” Thomas said. “I usually watch them get on the bus from the house, but I might stand out there from now on.”