Former dean convicted of shooting student over pot

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Shaun Harrison, a former dean at a Boston high school who was known as an anti-violence advocate, has been convicted of shooting and nearly killing a 17-year-old student. | The Boston Globe via AP

BOSTON — A former high school dean known as an anti-violence advocate was convicted Thursday of shooting and nearly killing a student he had recruited to sell marijuana for him.

Shaun Harrison, 58, was found guilty of all charges, including armed assault with intent to murder, by a Suffolk Superior Court jury in its second day of deliberations.

“Shaun Harrison was really a fraud, he was living a lie, and it was clearly exposed in this case,” District Attorney Dan Conley said. “Not only was he not a man of God or a role model for young people, he manipulated them in a way that was terribly offensive.”

Harrison, who had worked as a dean at Boston English High School for five years, recruited 17-year-old Luis Rodriguez to sell marijuana for him at the school and shot him on March 3, 2015, because he believed the student was not generating enough sales and withholding money.

Rodriguez, now 20, testified that he came from a dysfunctional family and trusted Harrison, who students nicknamed “Rev.”

“He was my counselor. I went to him for everything,” Rodriguez said during the two-week trial.

On the day of the shooting, the pair arranged to meet at a gas station where Harrison was supposed to hand over some drugs.

Harrison shot the student in the back of the head and fled on foot, prosecutors said. The bullet entered Rodriguez’s head just under his right ear. It just missed his carotid artery, broke his jawbone and caused nerve damage and hearing loss.

Rodriguez said he was saved by occupants of a passing car, who called 911.

Bruce Carroll, Harrison’s attorney, asked why Rodriguez did not immediately identify his client as the shooter even though he was conscious and alert.

Rodriguez had told hospital staff he was shot by one of his marijuana customers during a botched drug deal, Carroll said.

“It took me a while to get all my thoughts back together after being shot in the head, sir,” Rodriguez said during cross-examination. “I was in such denial. I knew who did it. Of course I knew who did it.”

Sentencing is scheduled for Friday.

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