At 1:50 p.m. on Jan. 31, one student shot another at Price Middle School in southwest Atlanta. The school was immediately placed on hard lockdown and the teachers locked classroom doors, covered windows and turned off all the lights. Within two hours, both Mayor Kasim Reed and APS School Superintendent Erroll Davis reacted to the incident and released statements about the school shooting.
According to WBS-TV, the 14-year-old victim had some sort of altercation with a fellow student that he knew. When the shooter pulled out a gun, the victim started to turn around to run away, but was shot in the head. According to Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, the school resource officer apprehended the shooter and took him into custody right after the incident. “It was contained immediately,” added APS School Superintendent Erroll Davis.
The victim was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. The bullet grazed tissue at the base of his skull. According to family spokesperson Sandra Armor, the 14-year-old was alert and talking, but upset over the incident. His mother is also distraught and wants the public to know that her son is a good kid and not involved with any gangs, as reported previously by the media. Her son could be released from Grady as early as tonight.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said of today’s school shooting,
Gun violence in and around our schools is simply unconscionable and must end. Too many young people are being harmed, and too many families are suffering from unimaginable and unnecessary grief. I pray that the student who was shot today at Price Middle School in southwest Atlanta recovers quickly and can return home to family and friends.
He also promised support for the students and staff at Price Middle School by saying,
I would also like the students, faculty and families of the Price Middle School community to know that they have the full support of the City of Atlanta as they heal from today's terrible incident. The city's Employee Assistance Program counselors are already at the school providing guidance for students, faculty and family members.
Students were held at the school while investigators scoured the crime scene. When the 6th-8th graders were finally released, they were escorted by police officers to waiting buses that left Price Middle School at 4:49 p.m. They traveled a short distance to Emmanuel Baptist Church, where anxious and worried parents were waiting. When the shaken students were reunited with their parents, many broke into tears. One student said on WSB, “They were looking for someone and we had to stay in our class. I just want to go home."
Parents said that they learned about the school shooting from an automated roto-call. Some said that they were in touch via cell phones with their children while they waited to be dismissed from school. Several expressed displeasure about being kept in the dark about what was happening.
Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis held a press conference and praised the school resource officer and the police department. He said there are metal detectors at Price Middle School and the authorities don't yet know how the shooter managed to get a gun on campus. Davis then confirmed that the incident happened outside the school, between class periods. “I believe that the things that had to happen, did happen,” he stated on Thursday afternoon. Concerning the lengthy delay of student dismissal, he explained, “We understand we can’t release the students as quickly as parents want. The safety and security of our students is our number one priority.” Davis added he and other APS officials would further review the incident and emergency procedures on Friday.
In response to the Newtown school tragedy in December, many Atlanta area schools implemented new school safety procedures in January.
UPDATE: The victim has been identified as 8th grader Telvis Douglas. A teacher, who may have been trampled during the chaotic scene, received medical attention for cuts and bruises.
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