A former student, who sneaked past security, was shot on the second floor of a Detroit high school as hundreds of current students and teachers were ending classes for the day.
Several Central High School students described a panicked scene as teenagers scrambled for cover or rushed toward exits after gunshots echoed through the halls of the school shortly after 2 p.m. on Feb. 17.
"Everybody ran. I stayed inside the girls’ bathroom," said Felicia Boyd, a 17-year-old 11th grader. "The gunshots were right by us."
"I was walking down the hall and I heard a shooting noise, and then I ran to security," said Bridgid Bramwell, a 15-year-old 10th grader.
The victim was in temporarily serious condition Tuesday afternoon at Henry Ford Hospital where he was being treated for at least one gunshot wound to the abdomen. Authorities did not release his name or age.
The suspect in that shooting shot himself in the leg outside the school and also was taken to Henry Ford, district spokeswoman Mattie Majors said.
Majors said there are three other "people of interest" in the shooting inside the school–all non-students.
No arrests had been made in either shooting as of late that afternoon. Majors said police were searching for suspects.
Detroit Public Schools Public Safety Chief Charles Mitchell said investigators were questioning students inside the school and reviewing tape from surveillance cameras.
It was not immediately known if the former student shot inside Central had graduated, transferred, or dropped out of the school.
School public safety officers and Detroit police were trying to determine why the victim and the shooter were in the building and what sparked the shooting.
"We really don’t know," Mitchell said. "We have conflicting statements."
The victim had tried to enter the school through its main entrance about 2 p.m., but was stopped by security guards, he said.
"They told him to go way," Mitchell said. "Some time later, he came back to an unknown area."
Mitchell said the 26 sets of doors at Central High cannot be opened from the outside, but speculated that the victim may have entered as other students were leaving for the day. About 1,000 students are enrolled at the school, according to the district’s web site.
A dozen or so students lingered around outside the school two hours after the shooting.
Spectators arriving for an after-school boy’s basketball game were turned away at Central’s main doors. It was not immediately known if the game was canceled.
Ironically, Central was the site of a recent press conference where Detroit police and the district’s public safety department announced better cooperation and coordination following the fatal shooting of a high school student last fall.
Christopher Walker, 16, was killed and two other students and an ex-student were wounded Oct. 20 near Henry Ford High School on Detroit’s northwest side. That shooting followed a fight inside the school, police said.
Two 18-year-olds and a 15-year-old have been charged with murder and assault with intent to rob in that case.