Detectives looking for 2 suspects after 2 students shot outside Graham high school
GRAHAM, Wash. (KOMO) - Pierce County Sheriff's detectives have arrested a 17-year-old boy and are still looking for two more suspects after two students were shot outside Graham-Kapowsin High School on Tuesday afternoon.
One student was found in the parking lot by the football field. A second was found in the locker room.
Authorities say the shooting took place just off campus about 2:30 p.m. and that the students ran back to campus.
Graham-Kapowsin, Frontier Middle School and Nelson and Graham Elementaries were all locked down while parents got an email alert from the district.
“We just started running to the band room and we didn’t know what was going on,” said student Connor Rataezyk. “There was a lot of mixed emotions, there were people that were scared, people that were anxious and just wanted to get out.”
The victims were taken to Tacoma General Hospital. Both had surgery and are expected to survive, said Detective Ed Troyer, spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.
The shooters apparently fled in a green mid-sized car. Tuesday night the Piece County Sheriff's office released video of the suspect car and said it appears to be a Chevrolet Impala.
Troyer said possible gang ties is one motive investigators are looking into. But there rumors of other motives, he said. Some witnesses are not being cooperative, he said.
Pierce County deputies swept the grounds. The Sheriff's Department said there were no shooters on campus and the students there were safe.
Frantic families rushed to the school trying to connect to their kids through phone and text.
Tuesday night they were re-united but the anxiety still lingered about going back to school.
Virginia Vick, who has a son at the high school, she dropped everything and rushed to the school.
Vick said her son is usually in the locker room where one of the victims was found, but today he decided to go home
“I was hysterical, I instantly, my heart dropped into my stomach, I started crying panicking, I didn’t know what to do,” said Vick. “It’s just ridiculous, it’s horrible, I don’t understand it.”
A reunification site for parents and any students remaining on campus was set up at the Frontier Middle School gymnasium. Officers escorted students to the middle school
"I pray for the parents who child it is," said James Marks, who was waiting outside to pick up his son, a sophomore at the school. "My shakes are kind of gone knowing that my son is safe at school with the teachers on lockdown."
Marks said his son called him. A teacher had he and other students move to the back of the classroom during the lockdown, Marks said.
All schools in the Bethel School District had already been scheduled to start two hours late on Wednesday; which the district saidTuesday night said is still the plan.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live who you know, anything can happen so you just have to protect yourself,” said Rataezyk.
Students will also see extra security around campus and more counselors to help them.
Pierce County detectives are asking anyone who recognizes the suspects or the green Chevrolet Impala to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.