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Little Rock Central High students to attend classes virtually Wednesday after gunfire hits building

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | October 12, 2021 at 6:33 p.m.
People stand outside Little Rock Central High after a report of shots fired at the school Monday. (Photo by Tommy Metthe)

6:30 p.m.

Little Rock Central High School students will attend classes virtually Wednesday after shots fired near the campus struck the building, Principal Nancy Rousseau wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon.

Rousseau also sought to dispel continued rumors of injuries, calling a photo purporting to show a student lying on the ground after the shooting “bogus.”

She added that mental health counselors will be on hand for students, noting that the day’s events “shook up everyone.”

– Grant Lancaster

3:04 p.m.

​​​​Little Rock School District Superintendent Michael Poore worked to dismiss rumors at a news conference Tuesday afternoon at Central High School, maintaining that “no one was hurt on our campus” but acknowledging that bullets broke a classroom window and struck near students eating lunch outside the school.

“It was that close,” he said.

Poore praised Principal Nancy Rousseau’s reaction time, though Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey said that rumors would always abound after shootings like these.

“I’m pretty sure parents thought this was an active shooter,” Humphrey said.

Humphrey said it was unlikely that the school was a target, but that an investigation was ongoing.

Police were working a crime scene at 17th and Dennison streets, with at least 10 shell casings lying in the street past the 17th Street intersection marked as evidence.

Humphrey said police have a description of a vehicle that may have been involved.

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. took a hard line in addressing the perpetrator, saying “We will get you.”

Humphrey echoed Scott’s tone, saying that they plan to refer the case to a federal attorney when a suspect is arrested.

“There are people that think guns are toys and don’t recognize the seriousness,” Humphrey said.

– Grant Lancaster

1:46 p.m.

Little Rock police confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the Central High School building was hit at least twice by gunfire.

Police set up crime scene tape around 17th and Dennison streets, the reported area where gunshots were heard.

Students were dismissed from campus around 1 p.m.

12:56 p.m.

After going into lockdown due to nearby gunfire, Central High School will dismiss early on Tuesday, school and police officials said.

Principal Nancy Rousseau in a message to parents reiterated that there was no active shooter at the school, and she said buses were on the way so students could be dismissed early.

"Please be patient as we work to have an orderly dismissal from the school," Rousseau wrote. "Your students are safe."

Little Rock police also confirmed that there was not an active shooter at the school, adding all students and teachers were safe.

– Hunter Field

12:10 p.m.

Little Rock Central High School was put on temporary lockdown Monday after a report of gunfire near the campus, school officials said.

Principal Nancy Rousseau said in an email to parents that the report of gunfire was unrelated anything at the school.

“The incident did not have anything to do with our school, but as a precaution, we made the decision to go into temporary lockdown for the safety of students and staff,” Rousseau said in an email.

A spokesperson for the Little Rock School District didn’t have any further details, but did add “all the students are inside the building and safe.”

Mark Edwards, a spokesman for Little Rock police, could not provide any details about the incident other than police were “investigating” it and the department will release a statement later today.

A police dispatch log showed two “shots fired” calls at the school at 1500 S. Park St. in Little Rock at 11:27 a.m.

By 12:10 p.m., parents had started arriving at the campus to pick up their children.

– Neal Earley

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