- The Washington Times - Monday, August 8, 2005

Springbrook High School students in Silver Spring returned to summer classes yesterday amid heightened security after two students were stabbed Friday on campus.

An increase in the number of armed guards was the most visible change, said Minsung Kim, 15, an Olney student about to enter 10th grade. Minsung said he was the last student in the building yesterday after classes ended.

“The security was much tighter,” Minsung said. “Police officers were more involved.”

The students were stabbed about 1:15 p.m. Friday at the school, about 20 minutes after classes let out. Four hours later, four persons were stabbed at a Wheaton shopping plaza.

Suspects in both attacks are members of two Salvadorean gangs, Montgomery County Police spokesman Lt. Eric Burnett said. Investigators have said the MS-13 gang was responsible for the attacks, although the incidents do not appear to be connected, Lt. Burnett said.

Police have charged five suspects with two counts of first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault in connection with the Springbrook stabbing, Lt. Burnett said. Two of the suspects are juveniles, but will be charged as adults.

In the Wheaton incident, one suspect has been charged with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and weapons possession.

All six suspects were ordered held without bail.

Police were expecting to make more arrests, Lt. Burnett said.

MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, was formed in Los Angeles in 1980 by immigrants from El Salvador. The gang has been most active in the D.C. area and in Northern Virginia.

In June, a federal jury in Alexandria sentenced two MS-13 members to life in prison for killing a 17-year-old pregnant girl serving as a witness in an investigation of the gang.

Kate Harrison, Montgomery County Public Schools spokeswoman, said staff members greeted students outside the building as they arrived and gave parents a press release about the attacks. The release was distributed in English and Spanish.

The administration held an assembly to inform students that the victims were recovering and to thank them for their help on Friday, Mrs. Harrison said.

She said several students removed their shirts and gave them to medical technicians trying to compress the victims’ wounds. A student certified as an emergency medical technician also treated the victims.

Counselors were available all day yesterday to students, Mrs. Harrison said. She said a steady number of students sought support, but said she did not know how many.

The increased security will remain for the rest of the summer session, Lt. Burnett said. School districts will meet separately to determine security procedures for the fall.

“I’m sure we’ll put something in place to ensure everyone’s safe,” Lt. Burnett said.

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