Student in good condition after Erie school shooting
One student was injured when multiple shots were fired inside a high school in northwestern Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning, and another student was being sought as a suspect, authorities said.
Mike Nolan, deputy chief of the Erie police department, said the shooting was reported just after 9:20 a.m. at Erie High School.
Nolan said the shooting occurred in a hallway and other students were in the vicinity, although a school official said it didn't take place during a change of classes. The injured student was taken to a hospital and was said to be in stable condition. No other injuries were reported.
“This is an ongoing investigation, but what we've learned so far, we're confident that this was an isolated targeted incident and not a random act of violence," Nolan said. “A suspect has been identified, and juvenile allegations have been filed."
Nolan said due to the age of those involved, he could not release any more information about suspect or victim, but confirmed that both are Erie High students. District Attorney Elizabeth Hirz indicated that the suspect would face only juvenile charges because the person’s age is younger than 15. Nolan said the 9mm weapon used hadn't been recovered and the exact number of shots fired hadn't yet been confirmed.
Nolan said security footage confirmed that the shooter had left before officers arrived, and responding officers were diverted to search for the suspect, who had not yet been taken into custody late Tuesday afternoon. He declined to comment on a possible motive.
Erie's Public Schools said the shooting prompted what the district called a “hard lockdown.” Police secured the school and officials said students were dismissed classroom by classroom about an hour after the shooting, officials said.
The school district said there would be no school for Erie High School students for the remainder of the week, with the annual spring break to be observed next week. Officials said counselors would be available this afternoon for students, staff and parents at the Erie Center for Arts and Technology, an adult education school.
“We are devastated and angered by this senseless tragedy, and we are all hoping for the full and speedy recovery of the student involved,” Superintendent Brian Polito said in a statement.
Officials said the school doesn't have metal detectors and never has had them, although late-arriving students are searched with a metal detection wand and random wand searches are also employed.
The Erie Education Association, which represents school faculty and staff, said it had for years called for safety improvements but “each time, we’re told, ‘it will take time, we’re working on it.’”
“We will not stand by one day more until the safety of our students and staff is properly addressed,” the organization said in a statement, WICU-TV reported.
The school district vowed to release detailed information about the plan for a return to school in the coming days.
“The well-being of our students and staff is and always will be our priority, and we will take every measure possible to ensure their safety and security,” the district's statement said.
Mayor Joe Schember called the shooting “very saddening,” adding that “schools should be safe places where children learn and grow.”
Gov. Tom Wolf said he was “deeply disturbed” by the shooting.
“Students, faculty and staff deserve to feel safe in their school and community, yet gun violence continues to impact all corners of our commonwealth,” he said in a post on Twitter.