Vernon Eddins' middle
school graduation picture
Police have identified the James Logan High School freshman murdered on the Barnard-White Middle School campus Friday as Vernon Matthew Eddins.
According to school and police officials, Eddins was murdered shortly after school was dismissed at the middle school on Whipple by a gunman who was part of a group of Latino students who were confronting a group of black students. One of the Latino students pulled a handgun and shot at least twice, hitting Eddins in the chest.
Despite attempts to keep him alive, he died on the doorstep of the Barnard-White administration office.
Police are seeking the gunman.
The murder is widely believed to be the latest in a series of violent acts committed in an ongoing race-based war between latino and black youths in Union City. It is, perhaps, the second murder in the conflict in two months.
It's the fifth murder in Union City so far this year.
Dr. Pat Jaurequi, Superintendent of the New Haven Unified School District, offered condolences to the family via a statement released Saturday.
On behalf of the Board of Education and the entire New Haven Unified School District, I would like to extend condolences to the family and friends of the young man who was slain Friday," she said. "My prayers today are for his family."
She said the district had been aware of the rising tensions, and had taken steps to deal with them: "Our district has always been committed to the safety of our students and staff. During the past several weeks, as tensions have risen within our community, we have taken additional security measures. But the sad reality, in a world where tragedies such as this sometimes invade school campuses, is that no one can protect everyone from everything all the time."
With the schools out for a winter holiday, district officials will use the time to "discuss whether to employ further measures when our students and staff return January 7," she said. "In the meantime, the district is actively cooperating with the police as they investigate. Because of the ongoing investigation, we can not comment further at this time.