HOUSTON – Houston Independent School District Police are stepping up patrols around Bellaire High School after a student says he was robbed at gunpoint Friday afternoon.
The 17-year-old senior, who did not want to be identified, said he was killing time waiting for his father to pick him up after school when he decided to walk to the Chic-fil-A in Meyerland Plaza. While Bellaire High School students can get to the fast-food restaurant along sidewalks on Beechnut Street, most choose a shortcut path along a bayou.
The teen said he turned around when he realized he didn't have enough time before he had to meet his father and that's when he saw he was not alone on the trail.
"I saw him to my right. I didn't think anything at first. Then, all of a sudden, he pushes me to the ground. I hear a click, pistol to the side of my head, and he says, 'Give me everything you have,'" the teen said.
The teen handed over his iPhone and his backpack with his school-issued laptop inside.
The robber took off and the teen went back to school to report the robbery. A school resource officer searched the area but could not find the suspect.
The teen's family said the school and district need to do more to protect students.
"I think a lot of kids walk that same path and someone needs to alert them about this. The school needs to caution kids," said the teen's grandfather.
What are students saying?
Many students we talked to didn't want to go on camera but said they were not surprised to hear of the incident and that they were concerned with what they said was an uptick in the number of incidents that made them feel unsafe both on school grounds and off.
What the school and district are saying?
On Monday, Bellaire's principal sent a message to parents and students about the incident.
In a statement, the principal wrote the following:
"HISD is aware of an incident involving a Bellaire High School student who was reportedly robbed at gunpoint off campus after school hours on Friday. The Houston Police Department is investigating. The HISD Police Department has taken steps to implement additional safety measures, including assigning extra officers to patrol the area.
"We take these situations seriously, as the safety of our students is always our top priority."