Student shot dead at Alabama school
Authorities are investigating the incident in Birmingham as apparently accidental.
Authorities said they are investigating a shooting at a school in Alabama in which a 17-year-old female student was killed as apparently accidental.
A 17-year-old boy was injured in the incident at Huffman High School in Birmingham.
Birmingham Interim Police Chief Orlando Wilson said investigators are seeking to piece together the exact circumstances surrounding the shooting at dismissal time on Wednesday afternoon.
He added that the inquiry will involve scouring school surveillance video for clues and completing interviews among students and staff at the school.
“At this particular time, we are considering this accidental,” Mr Wilson said at a news conference just hours after the incident. “Right now we have a lot of unanswered questions.”
The shooting prompted a brief lockdown, although students were released late on Wednesday and authorities said they had subsequently determined that the shooting was not perpetrated by “someone from the outside” the school.
Mr Wilson declined to say who fired the gun or to identify what firearm was involved, adding it had been recovered by authorities.
No arrests were immediately reported and the two students were not identified.
“We are asking questions from the staff, the students, anyone who was in that area,” Mr Wilson said. “This should not happen in schools.”
He said police have already questioned students but declined to say how many. He also would not confirm that metal detectors were in place and functioning in the school.
Huffman High in north-east Birmingham is one of the largest high schools in the city. The Birmingham City School system said in a statement that the shooting prompted a brief lockdown and added two students were involved as school was ending for the day.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said the dead student would have been 18 in about a month’s time and was a senior “who had aspirations and dreams to be a nurse”.
“We are not just talking about some person, (we’re) talking about losing a part of our future. Our hearts are heavy,” he said.
Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring said her goal was to support the family of the teenager who died and to reassure parents about the safety of their children.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said she was saddened by the student’s death.
“I am praying for the family of this young lady who has tragically lost her life way too early … it reaffirms that there is no place for students to have firearms or other weapons on campus.”
The shooting took place just a day after Ms Ivey created a school safety council in Alabama to make recommendations on security.
The security plan would ensure schools have an updated security response plan for sharing information about potential threats. It would also require schools to train students and school employees on how to respond to an emergency situation.
Multiple Bills also have been proposed in the Alabama legislature after 17 people were killed last month in a shooting rampage at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Varying proposals by Republicans would arm either teachers or volunteer security forces in schools, while measures sought by Democrats would seek to limit or ban the sale of assault weapons.
The proposals face a tight deadline before the end of Alabama’s legislative session this election year.