Police say student shot at Watson Chapel junior high still alive, report of his death by department was ‘bad information’

Arkansas News

Gunman in custody after shooting at Watson Chapel Junior High in Pine Bluff

UPDATE: Police in Pine Bluff are now saying that their earlier report of the death of the student shot at Watson Chapel Junior High Monday morning was incorrect.

In an email, a spokesperson for the Pine Bluff Police Department said that the earlier report was “bad information” and that the hospital in Little Rock where the 15-year-old was being treated would be updating police directly to prevent any further erroneous statements.

The Watson Chapel Junior high announced that due to the circumstances of Monday’s events the students at the jr. high will be virtual for class on Tuesday.


ORIGINAL STORY: PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Police in Pine Bluff have shared details of the shooting at a Pine Bluff junior high school Monday morning that left one student dead.

Chief Kelvin Sergeant said Pine Bluff Police Department officers received their first reports about the shooting at Watson Chapel Junior High at 9:59 a.m. and arrived at the school three minutes later.

The officers found the lone victim, a 15-year-old student, in a hallway near the office. That student has been transported to Little Rock for further treatment where he is in serious condition.

Multiple agencies arrived at the school to assist in the investigation and search for the suspect. After searching the area around the school, a dog-team with the Arkansas Department of Corrections found the suspect, identified as another 15-year-old student at the school, hiding behind a nearby house.

Sergeant noted that school officials followed active shooter protocols, sheltering in place in classrooms until authorities could go room-to-room and clear the scenes.

The chief also reiterated that while the school followed an active shooter protocol this was not an active shooter situation, saying that investigators believe this to be an isolated or targeted shooting. At this time, police said they currently don’t have details on a motive in this case that they would share.

Investigators noted that the shooting appeared to have occurred as students were moving between classes. They also said that even though people had been seeing reports on social media of multiple victims, they have confirmed that there was only a single victim in this incident.

Police said there was not a school resource officer in the building at the time of the incident.

There was no word yet on what specific charges the suspect in this incident could face, but Sergeant explained a decision would happen in the next 36 to 48 hours as to whether or not the case would go through the juvenile or adult trial system.

The chief also said that while school officials had not decided if the school would reopen on Tuesday, his office would provide extra officers to be in the building if classes resumed Tuesday.

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