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'Big fight' led to shooting that injured 4 people in Hot Springs, police say

by Mark Gregory, Steven Mross, Brandon Smith, Andrew Mobley | May 12, 2022 at 11:55 p.m.
A shooting victim is loaded onto an ambulance Thursday at Convention and Laurel. - Photo by Steven Mross of The Sentinel-Record

Four people were injured by gunfire after what police called a "big fight" just outside the Hot Springs Convention Center after a graduation ceremony on Thursday night.

“After the conclusion of the Hot Springs High School graduation, a big fight broke loose outside the convention center here behind us that ultimately resulted in some gunfire," Hot Springs Police Department Officer 1st Class Omar Cervantes said during a brief news conference near the shooting scene Thursday night.

"Unfortunately we had multiple victims who are all being treated right now at local hospitals.”

Cervantes said that the shooting happened outside the convention center and did not involve the students, families and school officials inside.

He said no arrests had been made and no weapons had been found that he knew of.

The school district’s communications director, Adrianne Barnes, said the shooting occurred between 9 and 9:15 p.m. Thursday.

10:49 p.m.: Shooting injures 4 people outside Hot Springs graduation event

Four people were injured Thursday night in a shooting outside the Hot Springs Convention Center, where the Hot Springs World Class High School graduation was taking place, according to spokesmen for Hot Springs police and the Garland County sheriff's office.

The victims were transported to both CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs and National Park Medical Center, Under Sheriff Jason Lawrence said.

Lawrence said police sent officers to both hospitals to lock them down. Witnesses said that large groups of people were present at both hospitals.

“We are still learning more details about the unfortunate situation that took place outside of the Hot Springs Convention Center, following our Graduation Ceremony," Hot Springs School District Superintendent Stephanie Nehus said in a statement. "We can confirm that none of our current students or graduates were involved. Our Law Enforcement Officers and staff will do all that we can to assist in the investigation. Our hearts and thoughts are with all individuals who suffered injuries tonight."

The shooting occurred at Convention Boulevard and Laurel Street, in the street and the parking lot area in front of the Embassy Suites, police said.

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