Newport News, Va., officers reported that two students were injured at a Heritage High School shooting on Monday. Both victims were sent to hospital where they are expected to recover with non-life threatening injuries. The motive is still unclear.
The suspect reportedly knew the victims personally, but it took time for the police to find the shooter. He was captured around 2:40 p.m. local time. According to local news outlets, the suspect is now in custody, but his identity has yet to be revealed.
The Newport News Police Department reported that Heritage High School students were evacuated to the school’s tennis courts away from the building, where parents could drive up, meet them, and escort them home safely.
Both of the victims were 17 years old. One, a male student who was grazed by a bullet on his face, and the other, a female student who reportedly suffered a wound in her lower left leg. They are both expected to fully recover.
Two other students also suffered unknown injuries from the attack, though due to panic during the evacuation and not gunshot wounds.
“A suspect is not in custody at this time; however, the suspect is no longer in the school,” said Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew. “Evidence has been recovered at the scene. It is believed that the suspect is known to the victims.”
Speaking about the victims and their impending recovery, Drew said “I thank God for that. That is the most important thing.”
Local news outlet WAVY10 reported that the school nearby, Achievable Dream Academy, was put on lockdown shortly after, but there is no active shooter in the area. Other reports around the city of active shooters, said the police chief, are also false, as the investigation is ongoing.
“I don’t believe that this is an individual that is searching the community to hurt members,” said the police chief. He added, however, that he could not speculate any more at this time.
The incident was spurred by “some time of altercation,” investigators concluded. An exact account of what happened has not been provided. “There is some footage and some evidence there that we’re looking at,” the police chief alluded.
Closely monitoring “every inch” of the school, the suspect was eventually found, according to local media outlets. Police Chief Steve Drew was confident that they would have little trouble finding the suspected shooter.
“My team and I are in close contact with first responders at Heritage High School in Newport News,” Virginia Governor Ralph Northam posted on Twitter. “As more information becomes available, please avoid the area and follow all instructions from law enforcement.”
“My office is closely monitoring these reports—and as we await more information, I am praying for the safety of all involved,” said Virginia Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine. “Our students and teachers and school personnel have already been through so much. A shooting like this is enormously sad.”
There is still a major police presence in the area, and the FBI have reportedly gotten involved in assisting with the investigation.
“Praying for the health and safety of all involved as we wait to learn more,” said Virginia Senator Mark Werner. “Closely monitoring the horrifying reports.”
Newport News School Superintendent George Parker III told CNN that he expects to have virtual learning the next few days as the school and the students recover from the Heritage High School shooting. Students will not be expected to return, he said, “until we have discussed this matter and looked at better ways to ensure something like this never happens again.”