Student charged with assaulting staff member at Harrison High School


An 18-year-old student from Harrison High School has been charged with assaulting a staff member, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Corey David Burfield, of St. Paul, has been charged with one count of first-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault.

"This is a very unfortunate and tragic case,” Freeman said at a Thursday news conference. “Some of these students have challenges and sometimes they act out. But we cannot have violence in our schools. We have to undertake this case.”

According to the criminal complaint, on Tuesday a student resource officer at Harrison High School, located at 1501 Irving Ave. N., saw Burfield approach a staff member, knock him to the ground and punch him a number of times. When emergency personnel arrived, the victim was unresponsive and life saving measures were necessary. The victim was transported to the hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

Surveillance video of the incident shows Burfield grabbing at the victim’s belt where keys to the building were held. The victim attempted to push Burfield away and then Burfield grabbed the victim by the shirt, shoved him into a wall and then down to the ground where he hit the victim numerous times about the head and neck with a closed fist.

Freeman also said he was a strong supporter of the School Resource Officers, police officers, in many of the junior and senior high schools in the county. He noted that not only was an officer able to help with ending the assault at Harrison and call for medical assistance, but at the other end, "we find they are excellent in handling minor offenses." That helps to keep juveniles out of the court system, "which is our goal," Freeman said.

Burfield made his first appearance Thursday and was released on electronic home monitoring. The judge said it would be up to the school to decide whether Burfield gets to return to class before summer.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)

Video from press conference