A student was killed in a shooting at a high school in Washington State Wednesday.
Three more children were taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center where they were in critical condition, Spokane Fire Department Chief Brian Schaeffer said. Hospital staff said the victims were all in their mid-teens.
Trauma surgeon Mike Moore said that two of the patients were in stable condition. The third patient was scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday afternoon.
“We have three teenagers with us and they are all doing great. They are stable at this point,” he said. “We are thrilled to report that.”
A suspect was detained shortly after the shooting was reported, according to NBC-affiliate KHQ. The shooter’s identity remained unconfirmed Wednesday.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department confirmed it responded to an “active shooter” at Freeman High School at around 10:15 a.m.
Freeman High School is located in Rockford in Spokane County. It has 327 enrolled students.
Nearby schools were on lockdown Wednesday morning, Spokane Public Schools said on twitter. The lockdown was lifted less than an hour later, once police reported that the suspect had been taken into custody.
A student at the school reported that she and her classmates had been evacuated from the high school.
She shared an image of students taking cover in a Freeman Elementary School classroom.
“At Freeman elementary currently. I am a junior, evacuated from the high school. At least 4 shots,” she said.
Teresa Fuller, a spokesperson for the Spokane Police Deparment, confirmed that all students, including those who were in hiding places, had been located and cleared out of the building.
“The high school is completely cleared of kiddos and teachers and staff and now the process begins for us to look at the investigative part of this and what happened…that’s going to take us some time,” she told reporters on the scene.
One parent said that Freeman Elementary students were in PE class at the high school when shots were fired, KREM2 reported.
Parents were urged to report to the north end of the high school for information regarding collecting their children.
Authorities had asked students who were witnesses to the shooting to remain on campus for interviews with investigators.
Schaeffer expected about 300 students to be interviewed.
“It’s a very complex situation,” he said. “There is lots of evidence to compile from a forensic standpoint.”
“Processing student witnesses will take a long time,” he said, adding that local, state and federal detectives would contribute to the effort.
Non-witnesses were permitted to leave school premises.
Students interviewed by KREM2 said they were shocked and frightened by the shooting. “I’m just hoping no one that I know well was killed or injured,” one student said.
“I would never have expected something like this to happen at Freeman,” another student, who remained at the scene Wednesday afternoon told the news outlet.
Seventeen-year-old Corey Thurman described walking past the gunman Wednesday morning.
“I was in the hallway. I had just walked out of the classroom I was in and he was standing in the middle of the hallway and I walked right past him,” she said.
She said she heard three gun shots before she started running.
“It sounded like someone took their binder and slammed it on the ground,” she told KREM2.
Thurman told KREM2 that the weapon the shooter used was bigger than a pistol.
She added that the school had held a lockdown and fire drill practice a day earlier.
Another student, a high school freshman, said she had acted in an elementary school play with the gunman.
“He was rather outgoing, he did not seem like the kind of kid to do it,” she told KREM2.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee tweeted about an hour and a half after the shooting occurred.
“This morning’s shooting at Freeman High School is heartbreaking. All Washingtonians are thinking of the victims and their families,” he said. “The @wastatepatrol and all state agencies will do whatever we can to help provide support and comfort in the days and weeks to come,” he said.
Spokane Mayor David Condon also issued a statement Wednesday.
“Our hearts are broken by the events at Freeman High School this morning. This is a terrible day for the students, parents, teachers, administrators and the rest of that close-knit community. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this horrendous tragedy. First responders in our region are one team. Spokane City employees were part of that team in the first moments and will be there for the Freeman community as it begins a long road to recovery.”
It’s unclear if classes will resume Thursday.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.