15-year-old Arkansas boy fatally shot at junior high on first day of in-person class

A 15-year-old Arkansas boy was fatally shot at school on Monday, the first day his junior high resumed in-person learning after the building was closed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Officials believe the victim was specifically targeted by the suspect, another 15-year-old boy, who has been taken into custody.

What are the details?

Law enforcement was called to respond to a shooting at Watson Chapel Junior High School in Pine Bluff at around 10:00 a.m., where they found the victim near the school’s office suffering critical injuries from a gunshot wound, KTHV-TV reported. The young man was rushed to a local hospital, where he passed away.

Following the attack, a lockdown was imposed and a SWAT team was reportedly deployed to sweep the building and clear it.

After the news broke, parents rushed to the school to pick up their kids — just hours into the students’ first day back in classrooms after being shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Washington Examiner noted that the school had also experienced “water issues” that impacted the timing of returning to in-person learning.

According to ABC News, the Watson Chapel School District said that all other students in the school were unharmed, calling the shooting an “isolated incident.” Police said the motive is unclear at this time, but they do not believe the attack was random.

The Pine Bluff Police Department said that the suspect was apprehended behind a house near the school with the assistance of an Arkansas Department of Corrections K-9 unit, and is now at a juvenile justice facility awaiting charges. PBPD Chief Kevlin Sergeant said a decision is expected within the next 48 hours as to whether the alleged perpetrator will be tried as an adult.

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Author: Breck Dumas

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