One student died and another was injured at a Birmingham, Alabama, high school Wednesday afternoon in what local police are calling an “accidental shooting.”
Birmingham Interim Police Chief Orlando Wilson confirmed in a press conference shortly after the incident that a 17 year old girl had died and that a 17 year old boy was the other victim in the tragedy at Huffman High School. Wilson added that his department had launched an investigation and would continue to look at the shooting as an accident “until the investigation takes us elsewhere.”
“This should not happen in schools,” Wilson said at the presser. “It’s unfortunate… I’m deeply moved by it; I have kids of my own.”
Dr. Lisa Herring, the superintendent of Birmingham City Schools, later indicated the schools would be opened Thursday and that security would be heightened.
“Of course we will heighten security,” Herring told reporters, at all schools across the city.
Birmingham’s Mayor Randall Woodfin noted that the student who died was a “graduating senior, accepted into college and 30 days away from turning 18.”
“We lost a student today,” Woodfin said. “I’m quickly reminded this is not just a student, it’s someone’s daughter, niece, best friend.”
A school employee was also evacuated from the scene, it is unclear whether he sustained any injuries.
— Jonathan Hardison (@FOX6Hardison) March 7, 2018
Following the shooting, which took place around 3:30 p.m. local time, the Birmingham City School system released a statement.
“Two students were involved in a shooting during dismissal today at Huffman High School,” the statement reads. “The school was placed on a brief lockdown, and police were called to the scene. Students have been released and police are actively investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting.”
— Kelvin Reynolds (@Fox6Kelvin) March 7, 2018
Birmingham Police Sgt. Bryan Shelton told media on the scene that the incident was an “accidental shooting,” but did not offer any other details. It is unclear what caused the shooting.
“I heard the shot and it’s more like, ‘I gotta fear for myself now,’ and I need to get out of the school,” one student told local station WVTM. “That’s basically what went through my head and to make sure that my friends… that they’re alright.”