(AURORA, Colo.) — Six teenagers were wounded Monday in a drive-by shooting in a park near a suburban Denver high school, but all were expected to survive, police said.
According to Vanessa Wilson, police chief, the victims range from 14-18 years old. She said she needed everyone to be “outraged” by what happened and come forward with any information they might have to help police find those responsible.
Wilson asked neighbors and other bystanders to share any videos or photos from phones or house surveillance systems that might help detectives identify the suspects, who haven’t been apprehended.
Numerous rounds from various guns were discovered at the scene. She also suggested that it was possible that some of them were fired on foot.
Wilson says that school officers had been assigned as police officers and were quick to arrive at the scene. They applied tourniquets to one of the victims, saving his life. She said that the student was later able to undergo emergency surgery.
Wilson said she’s relieved the students are expected to survive but said gun violence is a public health crisis.
“There is a violence crisis across the nation right now, and so I think we all need to pay attention,” she said.
Three patients from the shooting were taken to Children’s Hospital Colorado. According to spokesperson Caitlin Jenniferney, they are all stable and were able to be reunited with their loved ones.
As police and staff ushered the students from the scene of the crime, several students hugged each other outside the school. Others shouted “Stay safe” as they parted ways.
Student Aariah McClain, 15, said she heard gunfire as she was walking near the school’s football field during lunch. At first she heard four gunshots, and then she began walking towards the school. Then she said she heard “a whole lot more,” she said.
“I was shocked,” she said of the shooting, as she waited outside the school with her father, Harold McClain, for her 14-year-old sister to be dismissed.
“I work and we pay taxes for these police to be here. I don’t see how this is even happening,” Harold McClain said. “They need more security.”
The school was put on a “secure perimeter” because of the shooting, police said. Police say that this typically means that no one can go in or out of the school. However, students and staff may still move around freely inside.
Evette Mitchell (47) ran to the school to collect her 15-year old son Trevell. When he heard gunshots in the gym, he was already there. The teacher led him and Trevell to the small gym.
“I did 90 (mph) on the highway,” she said, “because I didn’t know if it was my kid or not.”
Mitchell expressed frustration at the shooting that occurred near the school last weekend, which involved three teenage boys. Mitchell said that youth violence is often blamed on parents, however there aren’t any affordable options for students.
“Everything costs. We’re all low-income families so it’s hard for us to find something for these kids to do,” said Mitchell, who said her son was going to be in online classes for the rest of the week because of the shooting.
According to U.S. News and World Report’s high school rankings, 67% of the school’s approximately 2,000 students are considered economically disadvantaged, qualifying for free or reduced lunch.
Michelle Marin, who lives across the street from the school, said she walks her dog at the park almost every morning and sees students hanging out there all the time, “but you never think something like that’s going to happen.”
“We have seen some lockdowns but nothing with the caution tape or anything like that,” Marin said.
This shooting follows the death of an 18 year old who was shot around 5 miles (8 km) off his property on Sunday.
Police also received reports of a shooting at Aurora Mall’s parking lot on Friday, however they only discovered several shell casings upon arrival.