Oak Lawn Student One of Four Teens Charged in Murder of Palos Couple
Principal calls news of Oak Lawn Community High School student's arrest in Palos Township couple's murders "unsettling." Counseling offered to students.
One of four teens charged in last month’s murders of a Palos Township couple is a student at Oak Lawn Community High School.
Bail was denied for Mohammad Salahat, 17, and two other teens charged in the Sept. 11 murders of John and Maria Granat. The Granats’ son, John, 17, was charged on similar counts Sept. 13.
Prosecutors allege that Salahat sat in the car outside the Granats’ home in unincorporated Palos Township near Palos Park, while his friends beat the couple with baseball bats and stabbed Maria Granat up to 20 times.
Salahat, of Chicago Ridge, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder at the Bridgeview courthouse Tuesday morning, along with Christopher Wyma, 17, of Bridgeview, and Ehab Qasem, 19, of Hickory Hills.
Salahat’s attorney, Joel Brodsky, emphasized that his client was 16 years old at the time of the murders and that he was sitting outside in the car. Prosecutors said in court Tuesday that Salahat was aware of the plot to murder the couple.
District superintendent and principal Mike Riordan confirmed that Salahat was a sophomore at Oak Lawn Community High School. Riordan said the teen entered the freshmen class last year from one of the Chicago Ridge elementary feeder schools.
Riordan would not comment on the teen’s school record, citing district policy on student privacy.
A 2010 copy of the Spartans’ yearbook lists Salahat as a member of the freshmen class. The yearbook did not list any activities or sports that he may have been involved.
News of the student’s possible involvement in the Palos couple’s murders came as a surprise.
“We didn’t know about it until it started hitting the (media),” Riordan said.
Faculty learned of the teen’s arrest after being told by students.
“Our students were finding out before the school was,” the principal said. “It became a topic of conversation. Because we live in an electronic age, kids were getting the news faster than adults when some of the kids were reporting it to their teachers.”
Riordan said that crisis counseling was made available to students in the school’s guidance office.
“We let all the teachers know what happened,” Riordan said. “We told them if any students were distressed to send them to the counseling office to talk to counselors and social workers.”
He did not know if students took advantage of the counseling, but said that it became a “distraction” during the school day.
“We’re going to regroup tomorrow (Wednesday) to let everyone know the facts,” Riordan said. “It’s a touchy situation for kids and staff when you hear that kind of news about a person.
“Right now it’s all allegations so we can’t be too quick to judge,” he said. “If what is reported is true, it’s certainly unsettling.”