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14-year-old student shot at Arkansas school in apparent 'premeditated attack'

by Youssef Rddad | April 1, 2019 at 10:21 a.m. | Updated April 1, 2019 at 4:49 p.m.

PRESCOTT — A teenager was injured after a classmate brought a handgun to a southwestern Arkansas school on Monday morning and shot him, prompting a district-wide lockdown and the arrest of a suspect, officials said.

The injured teen was in stable condition after being airlifted to a hospital, and police arrested the student suspected of shooting him at Prescott High School, officials said.

“It appears this was a premeditated attack specifically targeting the injured student,” Prescott Public Schools said in a statement hours after the shooting.

School officials said the shooter was a student and had brought a concealed handgun into the school. Both the shooter and victim were 14-year-old eighth-grade students, police said.

A school police officer was on campus at the time, and officers arrested the shooter following a lockdown, the district said.

Prescott Police Chief Joey Beavers said the department responded to the high school around 9:15 a.m. to reports of a shooting in a hallway. “Everything was contained in just a matter of seconds,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock confirmed the facility received a patient from Prescott.

Officials reported no other injuries.

The 976-student school district canceled classes and other school events for the remainder of the day.

Police said they recovered the handgun tucked in a bush in front of the school.

District officials in Prescott said they plan to review safety and emergency protocols following the shooting.

“We are in the business of educating students and an incident like this is [heartbreaking],” the district said in a statement.

National data compiled by Education Week shows eight people have been injured and one killed in school shootings so far in 2019, including the latest shooting in Prescott.

Five of the nine shootings happened in the South, others in Minneapolis, Kansas City and Baltimore, according to the data.

Monday's shooting was the latest in a string of shootings on school and college campuses across the state over more than 40 years.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported that the state had at least 10 shootings on school and college campuses, resulting in 13 deaths and 15 injuries in more than four decades.

The cities and towns in which the violence occurred were: Stamps in 1980 and 1997, Fayetteville in 1981 and 2000, Little Rock in 1989 and 2008, Sherwood in 1996, Jonesboro in 1998 and 2008, and Conway 2008.

Law enforcement in Prescott called the Arkansas State Police to help investigate, but it wasn’t immediately known what led to the shooting.

At least two nearby school districts also locked down school buildings as a precaution, officials in Hope and Gurdon School School District said.

Prescott Schools said it plans to have counselors on campus for students when it reopens Tuesday.

Beavers said no charges have been filed Monday afternoon. He said police interviewed the 14-year-old alleged shooter.

School leaders didn’t return several messages seeking further comment about the shooting Monday afternoon.

Doug Bradberry, the Arkansas Department of Education's recently appointed school safety coordinator, reached out to the Prescott Superintendent Robert Poole Monday to offer support.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by today's incident," said spokeswoman Kimberly Friedman.

The education commissioner appointed Bradberry in February to oversee the wing of the department responsible for working with schools on campus security, as well as helping schools align with state recommendations for school safety.

(Video by Hunt Mercier / Texarkana Gazette) | Stephen Simpson and Cynthia Howell contributed to this story


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