An Arizona school shooting that left two high school sophomores dead appears to be a murder-suicide, according to Glendale, Arizona, police officers who arrived on scene at the high school within minutes of receiving the call that there was a shooter on campus.
According to Glendale, Arizona, police spokesperson Tracey Breeden, officers responded to a call regarding a shooting on the campus of Independence High School just before 8 a.m. Friday morning. When they arrived on scene, they found the bodies of two 15-year-old girls laying next to one another. The girls’ bodies were found near the school’s cafeteria, under a covered patio. A gun was located nearby, as well as what police are calling a suicide note. Both girls had died from a single gunshot wound, leading Arizona police officers to believe the shooting was a murder-suicide, and not an active shooter-type situation, reports CBC.
“Information gathered by detectives reveal the two girls were very close friends, appeared to also be in a relationship.”
Officers called the shooting an “isolated incident” and were quick to reassure parents awaiting news of their children, that everyone was safe, despite the school being on lockdown. Detectives also added that as the shooting appeared to be a murder-suicide, they were not looking for any other suspects in the incident.
Officer Breeden says the two girls have been positively identified, but that their names will not be released to the public because they are minors.
Just before 10 a.m. on Friday morning, dozens of parents who had already heard about the school shooting had gathered at nearby convenience store parking lots, awaiting news on their children. By 11:30 a.m., Glendale, Arizona, School district Superintendent Brian Capistran was organizing buses to pick up worried parents and bring them to Independence High School, to reunite them with their children. According to the Washington Post, Capistran told reporters that parents would be bused to the campus and home again, after having reunited with their children. He said that children could also take their normal school buses home if they wished.
Nearby roads were closed for much of the morning, while police detectives investigated the scene, and were reopened around 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.
The principal of Independence High School sent a letter home to the parents of children who attend the school, explaining the incident, and offering counselling to any parent or student who might need it.
“It is with a heavy heart I inform you that a tragedy occurred at Independence High School today. Before the start of school today, two female students lost their lives while on campus.”
“Our hearts and minds are with the families who lost their children today. We offer our deepest condolences. As an Independence community we will support the families and each other. We will be providing a team of social workers for our students and families tomorrow (Saturday, February 13). They will be available from 9 a.m. to noon in the Media Center. As well, the team will be available to support students when they return to school on Tuesday.”
Arizona governor Doug Ducey released a statement following the school shooting, thanking the first responders, police officers, teachers, and school administrators for their “swift response and diligent work” in keeping students, staff, and parents safe, and calm during and after the tragedy. He also echoed the principal of Independence High School’s sentiments, stating “Our thoughts and prayers are with them, with everyone on scene and with the community during this difficult time.”
Though the two girls involved in the school shooting had been positively identified, Officer Breeden said their names would not be released to the public, as both girls were minors.
The Arizona school shooting that left two young girls dead is the seventh reported school shooting in the United States so far in 2016.
[AP Photo/Matt York]