Breaking News Blog

Tuesday, Apr 02 2013 11:30 PM

Taft school shooting victim readmitted to hospital

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Bowe Cleveland

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

Taft school shooting victim Bowe Cleveland was rushed to Kern Medical Center Tuesday afternoon with fluid oozing out of the gunshot wound to his upper right chest, his lawyer said.

Attorney Daniel Rodriguez, representing the Cleveland family in a claim against the Taft Union High School District, said he received word of Cleveland's condition through a text message from the boy's mother.

He said he hadn't been able to speak to mother Leah Cleveland and didn't know her son's condition as of Tuesday evening.

"I do know he has a massive drainage of pus coming out of his chest," Rodriguez said.

The attorney also said Tuesday that he and Cleveland's family took issue with an article in Saturday's Californian detailing disturbing writings that investigators said they uncovered while collecting evidence against shooting suspect Bryan Oliver.

The news article recounted how a search warrant request was made for the Facebook profiles of three Taft Union students at the center of the January shooting. The law enforcement request said Oliver had written a story describing the torturing and killing of several people.

Oliver's story had been posted on a website. It described a fictional character who is bullied as a teenager and goes on to murder his tormenters as an adult.

Classmates and a friend of Oliver's have said he was bullied by other students. School officials, citing confidentiality rules, have refused to comment on accusations Oliver was suspended for composing a hit list.

Rodriguez said the article gave too many details.

"I think whenever we start giving 15 minutes of fame to people accused of doing such things as shooting students at a school, it can't help but give copycats the idea that if they do the same thing, they're going to get that kind of attention, and that's not something that anyone wants to do," he said.

Rodriguez said he read the article that morning and soon after was called by family members of Cleveland who were stunned by it.

"There's a balance between trying to report things and public safety, and sometimes that balancing is done right and sometimes they don't get it right," Rodriguez said. "I think maybe this is a case where they didn't get it right."

The attorney said he would not comment on part of the detective's probable cause statement that said several students in the classroom during the shooting told investigators that Cleveland and another targeted student, Jacob Nichols, had picked on Oliver before.

The Jan. 10 shooting received national media attention, in part because it came on the heels of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in which 20 students and six adults were shot and killed.

Authorities have said Oliver entered a classroom at Taft Union High armed with a shotgun and shot Cleveland and fired at but missed Nichols.

Oliver has pleaded not guilty to five felony charges including attempted murder.

Rodriguez said the school district has rejected his claim alleging district officials knew, or reasonably should have known, that Oliver was dangerous and likely to commit a violent act, and that they failed to take adequate precautions. Rodriguez said he will likely file a lawsuit within the next two weeks.

Rodriguez said the family is asking that the community keep Cleveland in their prayers.

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