HOUSTON — A 19-year-old student was killed Tuesday in a shooting at Bellaire High School. The senior's teenage classmate was later arrested in connection with the incident.
The first 911 call came in about 4 p.m. The caller said one student was shot and the shooter ran from the scene.
According to sources, the victim was shot in the chest. He was taken to an area hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
"I extend my deepest condolences to the young man’s loved ones and to all students, teachers and staff at Bellaire High school," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement.
The 16-year-old shooting suspect and another suspect were taken into custody around 7:40 p.m. Tuesday. According to officials, one of the suspects was found hiding behind a dumpster at a grocery store on Chimney Rock Road.
The accused shooter was charged with manslaughter. The other suspect who was taken into custody hasn't been charged with a crime as of Wednesday afternoon.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said the shooting was an accident and the victim and the accused shooter were friends.
School officials initially said Bellaire High School would be open Wednesday, but the Houston Independent School District released a statement late Tuesday saying classes would be canceled. Staff members were asked to report to campus Wednesday.
Outside the high school, there were tears.
“I felt shock and then I felt mad,” Kalee Barrientos, a sophomore who knew both the victim and shooter, told KHOU 11 News.
The campus shooting stunned parents and students.
“That’s not supposed to happen,” one parent said. “We’re not supposed to bury our kids. We’re not supposed to do that.”
Unanswered campus safety questions angered some, too.
“The fact that they’re just, like, 'Come back to school tomorrow. It’s going to be fine.' This is not acceptable,” parent Jonasu Wagstaff said.
Before the final period of the day, some students said they heard gunfire in a classroom. A parent told KHOU 11 News her son was in a hallway steps away.
“He’s in shock,” she said. “He immediately walked up to the scene and immediately knew that, 'these are my friends,' and I don’t think he understood what he was seeing at first until reality set in.”
Barrientos was on her way to JROTC when she was told something happened between two members of the program, two students she considered friends.
Barrientos said everyone was told to go outside.
“I felt like bursting out in tears because of who did it and who died,” she said.
While Bellaire police searched the area and eventually found the shooter, neighbors showed KHOU 11 News texts from city hall that urged people to stay in their homes until authorities had more information.
Hours later, HISD Superintendent Grenita Lathan expressed sympathy for the victim, his family and friends.
Wagstaff, whose three children go to the school, said her oldest child is terrified because it's not the first time a student has brought a gun on campus. Wagstaff’s daughter wonders how she will be safe.
“I don’t know what to do to help her, especially when I can’t get her principal to answer a question,” Wagstaff said.
In a statement, HISD promised grief and crisis support for students and staff. HISD offers a variety of social and emotional support resources, click here for more information.
Here is Turner's full statement:
"As a city, we are both shocked and heartbroken that a 16-year-old student at Bellaire High School was shot and killed on campus Tuesday afternoon.
"A learning environment is the last place where young people should feel unsafe and in fear of their lives. Yet gun violence continues to disrupt schools and destroy families across the country.
"I extend my deepest condolences to the young man’s loved ones and to all students, teachers and staff at Bellaire High school.
"Earlier this evening, I spoke with students who serve on the Mayor’s Youth Council during a meeting which was previously scheduled.
"As I said to them, I will continue to work with elected officials at the state and federal level, along with advocacy groups and all people who are ready to enact laws to protect our children."
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story indicated the victim was 16 years old, as per police sources. A Wednesday update from police indicated the victim was a 19-year-old senior at the school. The charged suspect is 16 years old.
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