One student was injured in a shooting at a Pine Bluff, Arkansas, middle school on the first day of full-time in-school instruction. The shooting occurred when students were moving from one class to the other in a hallway, Pine Bluff’s police chief said in a news conference.
The school district confirmed in a statement that a shooting had occurred at the Watson Chapel Junior High School, writing, “There has been a shooting at the Watson Chapel Junior High. All campuses are on lock down. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the Pine Bluff Police Department are on site to control the situation. We will notify you as more information becomes available.”
Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant revealed that both the victim and suspect – who were not named – are 15-year-old males. The victim is in serious condition at a local hospital. Although the motive is not clear, police believe that the victim was the sole focus of the shooter.
Local journalists posted a video showing people leaving the building, some with backpacks in hand.
The shooting occurred at Watson Chapel Junior High in Pine Bluff on March 1, 2021. Pine Bluff is located about 45 minutes from Little Rock.
Here’s what you need to know:
The School District Revealed That All Other Students Were ‘Safe,’ Calling the Shooting ‘Isolated’
The Watson Chapel School District wrote on its Facebook page that the shooting was isolated.
“This was an isolated incident and all students students are safe at this time. The parent of the student hurt has been notified so if you have not been notified by the school your student is safe and secure. The police are not letting anyone in and out of the buildings. You will not be allowed to come get your student at this time,” the district wrote.
The school district gave updates to parents on its Facebook page, writing, “Attention Jr high Parents: There will be a supervised release at the Jr High starting now. Parents can pull through the drive thru and request for their child to be released. If the parents are not able to pick up their child, then the students can stay on campus until release at the end of the day. All students are safe!”
The Student Was ‘Targeted,’ Police Say
“It was an isolated, targeted isolated. All we know is they were students,” Sergeant said in a news conference.
He said there was a “firearm used in the incident” and that a school resource officer was not present.
Police dogs found the suspect hiding at a residence at a neighboring street, police said.
“We do not have any information further that would make us expect any other problems,” the police chief said. He said police would have an extra presence on campus, though.
People expressed frustration online. “it’s 2021 we shouldn’t be having school shooting, my heart goes out to everyone in Pine Bluff, Arkansas,” wrote one woman. “Prayers to the family of the victim who was seriously injured. School shootings are the absolute worst,” wrote another.