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Student shot at Pine Bluff middle school; 1 in custody

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | March 1, 2021 at 4:57 p.m.
Authorities work near the scene of a shooting at Watson Chapel Junior High School in Pine Bluff on Monday.

The student injured in a shooting at Watson Chapel Junior High School has not died, Pine Bluff police spokesman Lt. David DeFoor clarified Monday afternoon.

DeFoor said "bad information" was released earlier falsely stating the victim had succumbed to his injuries.

-Brianna Kwasnik

2:22 p.m.: Shooting at Pine Bluff middle school leaves boy seriously injured; 1 in custody

Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant during a news conference on Monday afternoon said a 15-year-old boy was in “very serious condition” following a shooting at Watson Chapel Junior High School on Monday morning.

Sergeant said officers responded to a call of the shooting just before 9:59 a.m. and arrived on campus three minutes later. The victim, who was a student at the school, was transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, according to Sergeant.

[Video not showing up above? Click here to watch » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlj5yfG7Rmg]

The suspect, another 15-year-old male student at the school, was apprehended in the neighborhood nearby by a dog team from the Arkansas Department of Corrections, Sergeant said. He has been taken to the Jack Jones Juvenile Justice Center.

Sergeant said students were changing classes at the time of the shooting, which he said was not an active shooting situation, but added the Watson Chapel School District and Pine Bluff Police Department followed active shooter protocol.

No security officer was on campus at the time, Sergeant said.

The victim was the only individual hurt during the incident, Sergeant said. He said the shooting is believed to be a “targeted incident as opposed to a random incident.”

Students were released from campus to their parents and guardians shortly after 11 a.m., according to the district’s Facebook post. It was not immediately known if classes will resume Tuesday. The district posted at 10:46 a.m. all students were safe and secure.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Hunter said his office had not yet determined whether the suspect will be charged as a juvenile or adult.

A motive for the shooting has not been established, Sergeant said.

-Joseph Flaherty and I.C. Murrell

EARLIER:

A shooting Monday morning at Watson Chapel Junior High School in Pine Bluff left one boy in serious condition and another in custody, police said.

All Watson Chapel School District campuses were on lockdown as a result, according to a post by the Watson Chapel School District. The Jefferson County sheriff’s office and the Pine Bluff Police Department were on site, the post states.

One boy was seriously injured as a result of the shooting, according to Pine Bluff police spokesman Lt. David DeFoor. Another is in custody, he said.

District officials called the shooting an “isolated incident” and said that all other students were safe.

The middle school began a supervised release at about 11 a.m., district officials said. Parents could pull through the drive-thru and request their child be released, according to a separate post on the district’s Facebook page. Students whose parents were unable to pick them up could remain on campus until release at the end of the day.

An Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter is on his way to the scene. Check back for further information.

-Brianna Kwasnik

This story has been updated. It was originally posted at 10:50 a.m.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that the student had died of his injuries. Pine Bluff police spokesman Lt. David DeFoor cited "bad information" for his report that the student had died.

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