Principal: Shooting does ‘not define Warren Woods Tower High School’

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published September 25, 2023

Photo by Maria Allard


WARREN — With police cars on-site and suspects on the loose, the scene near Warren Woods Tower High School on the afternoon of Sept. 14 looked like something from an action movie.

This was not a Hollywood blockbuster, but a real crime that Warren Woods Tower Principal Ian Fredlund said will impact the community “for some time to come.” He added, “These events will not define Warren Woods Tower High School.”

“They will not define what it means to be a Titan,” said Fredlund Sept. 19 when addressing students and staff several days after the shooting. “They will not define us as individuals nor as a community.”

Fredlund reportedly met with the staff in person prior to the start of the school day and then addressed the student body over the public announcement system. Fredlund continued his speech by reminding students that “we will not celebrate or support violence.”

“We will support each other so that we can live, love and flourish,” said Fredlund, a 2006 Warren Woods Tower graduate. “I sat in the very same desks that you are sitting in. In fact, some of the teachers in front of you taught me as well. I always felt safe. I want you to always feel the same.”

He stressed that the students involved in the shooting made decisions with “devastating consequences for the school and community.”

Their actions brought fear into the community. They also jeopardized their futures and injured a man who may never walk again.

“You, Titans, are in absolute control of the choices and the decisions you make,” Fredlund said. “The last week should prove to every member of our community that one decision, or many small ones over time, can lead to tragic endings.”

However, he noted, decisions also can lead down a path that doesn’t lead to violence, lost futures, or families that are torn apart.

“I am speaking to all of you out of genuine love for this community,” he said. “Please, Titans, make decisions that provide you with a future promised instead of a future lost.”

The principal advised students to make good choices, speak up when worried about something and to ask for help if they are struggling with anything in their lives or because of the shooting. He also encouraged the students to “help someone you know is in need.”

On Sept. 18, the day of the arrests, Warren Woods Public Schools Superintendent Stacey Denewith-Fici sent a letter to families about the shooting. She let families know the incident occurred outside of the school premises and that the four students involved were arrested. She added that the shooting did not involve any school-related activities, but “it did require some of our buildings to lock down.”

A lockdown is a precautionary measure in response to a threat directly to the school or in the surrounding community. In a lockdown, all school activities are moved indoors. Depending on the type of lockdown, interior and exterior doors on campus are locked. No one is allowed to enter or exit the building.

“We will continue to work closely with local law enforcement and take appropriate steps to address any potential implications of this incident on our school community to the fullest extent possible,” Denewith-Fici’s letter stated. “Rest assured that we are committed to the safety, well-being, and academic success of all our students.”