Two girls are dead today after a Glendale, Arizona, school shooting. The school remains on lockdown while authorities investigate, and so far, they haven’t determined the motive for the incident.
FOX News reports that the victims, both 15, were sophomores at Independence High School. So far, their identities haven’t been released, nor has the name of the shooter(s) or why it happened. The girls were both shot once, and the weapon was found close to their bodies. At this point, authorities are not looking for suspects, and don’t believe it’s an “active shooter situation.”
The shooting occurred around 8 a.m. on Friday morning, in a covered patio area of the school. According to Glendale Police Sgt. David Vidaure, the area was isolated, but near the school’s cafeteria.
Police arrived to the scene within a few minutes of learning about the shooting, and emergency vehicles quickly arrived and were spotted outside of the school. The parents of the students were directed to meet at a local Walmart, where the school buses would arrive later with their children.
Glendale Police Officer Tracey Breeden assured parents that the other children in the school are safe, and there aren’t any other threats to the students. For added measure, however, the school will remain on lockdown until authorities thoroughly investigate the situation.
“This was not an active shooter situation. We realized that when we got on the scene.”
When questioned if the shooting was a murder-suicide or a double suicide, Breeden stated that it’s much too early in the investigation to determine how the shootings occurred.
“There’s absolutely no way you can make a determination right now in this investigation.”
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, and non-profit organization working towards ending gun violence, the incident marks the seventh school shooting this year in the U.S. Since 2013, there have been around 166 school shootings in the U.S., which averages to around one shooting in schools per week.
Meanwhile, Arizona Mayor Jerry Weiers stated that the tragic incident touched him deeply, as he has close ties with Independent High School.
“This school has a special meaning to me. I live by this school, my daughter went to this high school. This morning’s tragedy hits really close to home.”
Cheryl Rice, a parent of one of the students at the high school, said that she went directly to a store after learning about the shooting. As soon as she arrived, her daughter called her to inform her she was safe and unharmed. Children typically aren’t allowed to use their phones during a school lockdown, but the calls from parents flooding the school’s phone lines was so overwhelming and intense that officials allowed some of the students to call their families.
“She said, ‘I’m OK,’ so I of course started crying. You don’t know if it’s your daughter or not. You don’t know who’s being bullied. You don’t know who is being picked on. You don’t know anything. It could be anybody.”
Other parents wait anxiously for their kids to arrive on buses being sent out from the school. Some students were allowed to leave on their own accord after getting permission from their parents.
The school is scheduled to resume classes on Tuesday. School counselors and social workers will be on hand to assist the students and give emotional support. Authorities are calling the Arizona school shooting an isolated incident.
[Photo by Matt York/AP]