A 17-year-old boy was shot in the side of his face and a 17-year-old girl was shot in her leg, said Newport News police Chief Steve Drew at a press briefing. He confirmed that both victims were taken to the hospital, and neither of them appeared to have life-threatening injuries.
“Reports I just got from the hospital is that neither [gunshot wound] is considered life-threatening, and I thank God for that. That is the most important thing,” Drew said.
Police also confirmed that one person identified as a male juvenile has been taken into custody. His name and age were not revealed as the investigation remains ongoing, and it’s unclear where he was arrested.
Drew did say, however, that information indicates that the suspect is known to the victims.
“We do believe that they knew each other,” Drew told the reporters. “I don’t believe that this is an individual that is searching the community to hurt members.” He added that he didn’t want to speculate further when the police “don’t know for sure.”
Students at Heritage High were evacuated and sent to the school’s tennis courts, where parents were being told to pick them up, police said in a statement.
Photos and videos posted to social media showed parents embracing their children while the police guarded the taped perimeters.
“There are a lot of folks who were really traumatized by this matter,” said George Parker, superintendent of Newport News Public Schools.
“No superintendent, no teacher, no principal would want to ever go through this situation,” he told the reporters. “Just seeing the faces of our students and how afraid they were under these circumstances, and our staff, who were traumatized.”
Local news outlets reported that a nearby elementary school had been placed on lockdown, but police clarified there were no active shooters.
“There have been reports that there are active shooters at other schools in the city. That information is false,” the police statement reads.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam appears to consider the shooting an example of “gun violence” that his administration has been trying to tackle.
“Pam [Northam] and I are grateful to the first responders for their heroic work today in Newport News. Our prayers are with those hospitalized, their families, and the entire community. Virginia has made great strides to reduce gun violence—and we have more work to do,” he wrote.