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Cambridge remained quiet last night in the wake of yesterday's stabbing death of a 17-year-old Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school senior.
A white sutdent, Anthony Colosimo, was killed, and another, William Graham, 18, wounded in a fight with at least one and probably three black students, city manager James L. Sullivan and police said.
City, school and police officials stressed there was no evidence that the incident was racially motivated. City police arrested one suspect last night.
The school, which is located on Broadway one block east of Harvard Yard, has been closed until at least Thursday morning "to give things time to calm down," school superintendent William Lannon said last night.
High school faculty will meet this morning at the school to discuss how and when to reopen the school. East Cambridge parents, students and friends of the victims will meet at the Kennedy Elementary School this morning with representatives of the school department to talk about the situation.
Colosimo, a resident of East Cambridge, was pronounced dead at Cambridge City Hospital shortly after the one p.m. stabbing. Graham is reported in stable condition at the hospital.
The Cambridge School Committee will meet tonight to consider "any security measures that need to be brought up," chairman Alice Wolf said last night.
Some students, who asked to remain anonymous, said yesterday the incident may have been drug-related. Others, none of whom witnessed the fight, said it may have followed an argument among the youths last week.
The students battled in a corridor in an unfinished wing of the high school which Wolf said was "off limits" to students.
Several construction workers witnessed the incident, and apparently one workers broke up the fight, Sullivan said. Police will question the workers tomorrow, he added.
Police originally detained three youths, but late last night arrested one and released the other two. Police withheld the name of the juvenile arrested.
School officials sent students home for the day immediately after the incident.
The streets of the city were quiet and almost deserted after dark last night, as school personnel and police patrols circled Cambridge in case they were needed to quiet disturbances.
In East Cambridge, angry students and parents crowded into the hot upper room of the East End community center to shout at Lannon and school committee member Glenn Koocher about lax security and racial tension at the school.
Several students said school rules were too loose and that they were unfairly enforced, while other complained that the city should have worked to prevent the violence instead of "waiting until somebody was killed."
Koocher asked the group for suggestions, and Lannon invited students to air their grievances in meetings with teachers.
"The first thing to do is to try to get these people to discuss a clear agenda for what is going to happen now and to do it in a neutral area," Lannon said later. He called for a meeting this morning at 9 a.m. in East Cambridge's Kennedy School which he termed a "secure area for those parents and students."
Shortly after the stabbing, city leaders set up a hot line (498-9011) in the city manager's office to quell rumors. Flynn said a few residents called with news of the fight, but that most simply wanted information about school schedules and security.
"A lot of people have volunteered to help in the schools when they open again," Flynn said last night. "Everybody seems to be pulling together," he added.
School officials said city public schools had not been plagued by racial troubles in recent months.
"The police chief has said positively that there is no reason to believe the stabbing was racially motivated, and in light of all the positive things that have gone on in this school in recent months, I think it is reasonable to believe that statement will stand," Richard Woodward, assistant superintendant of schools for instruction, said last night.
Wolf said there was no evidence the incident was racial, but added, "Cambridge is an urban area, and there are tensions. To say some of them aren't racial would be foolish.
"We have to show that this incident can be handled in a humane and constructive way," Wolf said.
"For the last four or five years, we have had very little of the spillover from Boston's racial problems," assistant city manager Robert Healy said last night. Neighboring Boston has been sharply divided by court-ordered busing to achieve racial integration in the schools. A black student, Darryl Williams, was shot in the city last fall.
Several of the parents and students at the East Cambridge meeting said that racial problems divided the high school.
One student at the East Cambridge meeting reported "at least six" racial incidents in the school this fall, and others told of repeated fights between white and black students.
They also asked that the city pay for Colosimo's funeral and wake. City solicitor Russell Higley said last night that such expenses might be covered under a state program for victims of violent crime
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