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Hostage ordeal unites Syracuse

Compassion runs deep in the Syracuse Junior High School community.

Thursday night, one day after a student fired a gun in the cafeteria and held fellow students hostage, parents, school administrators and law enforcement officers gathered at the school to talk about what happened there Wednesday afternoon.Many also kept the family of the teen, Jordan Parry, in their prayers.

Diane Abshire-Ochsher, her voice cracking as she spoke, said the boy's family is going through a difficult time. "I don't think we can forget that."

At the same time, the family of the boy suspected of terrorizing his classmates during the lunch hour Wednesday, had similar thoughts.

"We really feel bad for the students who were involved," said Darren Parry, Jordan's father. "We feel somewhat responsible, even though we know we're not. We're keeping them in our prayers."

The Parry family, which includes six other children ages 3 to 15, is having a difficult time coming to terms with Wednesday's events. Jordan Parry has struggled with depression, but was in counseling and seemed to be doing fine, Darren Parry said.

Jordan, who celebrated his 14th birthday last week, seemed all right Wednesday morning, eating his breakfast and trotting happily off to school, Darren Parry said. He had no idea that his son had taken a .22 caliber handgun and a 17-round magazine from his grandfather's home and planned to brandish it at school.

But despite what the boy might have done, both school administrators and Syracuse police officers expressed their concern for him. Their comments brought applause from the 200 gathered at the school Thursday night.

"This young man is bright, articulate. He has no gang affiliations and has had no (disciplinary) problems in this school," said Syracuse patrolman Mark Sessions, who spent time with the Parry family Wednesday. The parents and six other siblings in the family are going through a traumatic time. "All we can do is not point fingers."

Jordan Parry is in custody at the Farmington Bay Youth Corrections Facility. Prosecutors are expected to charge him with one count of kidnapping and one count of aggravated assault, both felonies, Syracuse Police Chief Brian Wallace said. Parry has no criminal history, Wallace said.

A hearing is scheduled for next week, Darren Parry said.

At the corrections center, Parry will receive counseling, Sessions said.

"At 14, he's young enough to change and we want to see this boy come out of this whole," Sessions said.

District crisis team counselors have been at the school since Wednesday making sure that all of Syracuse Junior High's students receive the support they need following the incident. Concerns from students run the gamut from not feeling as safe as they once did to being afraid to enter the cafeteria again, Charlie Nelson said. On the whole, he said, the students at Syracuse are handling the situation well.

But fear did keep some students out of school Thursday, principal James Schmidt said.

Eighth-grader Jeremy Glisman, 14, was one who stayed home.

"I'm afraid of being killed," said Glisman, who said he did not know that fear before Wednesday. "I guess I know now that it can happen anywhere."

His mother, Sandy Glisman, said she was happy to accommodate him.

"This is his first real traumatic experience. I mean, they see it on TV, but that's different," she said.