3 Students Shot in Drive-By Shooting Outside High School

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
August 19, 2021 Updated: August 19, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C.—A South Carolina high school will remain closed the rest of this week after three students leaving school for the day were hurt Wednesday in a drive-by shooting just off campus.

The three Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School students did not suffer life-threatening injuries, the Orangeburg County School District said in a statement.

A person is in custody suspected in the shooting, Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said, but he did not release a name, age or any charges against the person.

Investigators also did not discuss any motive for the shooting, which happened on the third day back at school.

“We plan for these things, hoping we never have to use them,” Orangeburg County schools superintendent Shawn Foster said in a statement to reporters outside the school a few hours after the shooting.

As Foster spoke, a voice on a loudspeaker in the background could be heard reading a continuous stream of names to report to the front office as teachers and staff worked to reunite the 1,100 students at the school with parents.

School Shooting-South Carolina
Orangeburg County School District Superintendent Shawn Foster, left, and Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell, right, get ready to talk to reporters after a shooting outside Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School in Orangeburg, South Carolina, on Aug. 18, 2021. (Larry Hardy/The Times and Democrat via AP)

Hundreds of parents rushed to the school as news of the shooting spread, and a number were frustrated they could not immediately see their children. But the sheriff said they had to make sure everyone was accounted for first.

After finding out her 15-year-old son was safe, Tomekia Griffin told The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg that rising gun violence adds another worry about sending him to school in person.

“I’m going to see if I can sign him up for virtual,” Griffin told the newspaper.

Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School will be closed the rest of the week, but there will be counselors at a nearby technology center and available online for students, officials said.

The school also moved Friday’s football game from its campus to their opponent’s field in Beaufort County.

Teachers will continue to work at the school about 50 miles south of Columbia and can receive counseling as well, the school district said.

Ravenell praised teachers and other school employees for making sure the shooting did not end up worse.

“Because of their quick actions and different things they did out there at the school today, I believe that saved lives and other students being injured,” the sheriff said.

By Jeffrey Collins

The Associated Press
The Associated Press