FREDERICK, Md. (AP) – Two students were shot outside a public high school in Maryland on Wednesday night while a basketball game was being played inside, sending game watchers running for cover as frantic parents rushed to the scene to make sure their children were OK.
The Frederick High School students were flown to a hospital in Baltimore with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, Frederick Police Capt. Richard Hetherington said. He did not know the students’ ages or genders, and he said the shooter or shooters were still at large early Thursday.
A motive for the shooting was not immediately clear and an investigation into the identity of the shooter or shooters is ongoing, Hetherington said later in a statement.
Two junior varsity basketball games were going on at the time of the shooting, said Frederick County public schools spokesman Michael Doerrer.
Officers took about 200 people who were at the game into the school cafeteria, secured the building and questioned witnesses, Hetherington said. He said the students were being released to their parents in the parking lot of a nearby bowling alley.
Just before midnight, a school bus and a police van pulled into the lot and let off about a dozen students, the first group to be released. There was excited chatter as parents hugged their children.
Frederick High School junior Sofia McCluskey said she was watching the game and heard a muffled shot. “Someone yelled, ‘Yo, they’re shooting,'” she said. “And we just ran as fast as we could.”
She and her friend, Stephanie Sanchez, said they ran to the locker room and were taken to the cafeteria, where they waited and were briefly interviewed by police.
Sanchez said it was a frightening experience. “I was, like, shaking the whole time. I still am,” she said.
Dejuan Jones, a sophomore, said, “You would expect it to happen at a varsity game, but it was like a JV game,” he said. “Nobody hardly comes to those.”
Dana Wiles, 40, said her daughter, a Frederick High school sophomore, sent her a text message about 8:40 p.m. “She said she saw it happen,” Wiles said. “She’s not coming back to any more basketball games. I’m keeping her home with me.”
Wiles waited with her son, a senior at another school, near the street entrance to the school driveway. They periodically checked their cellphones for messages. “I just want my kid,” she said.
Tanika Mayweather, whose 15-year-old son Lawrence was playing in the basketball game, said, “I know he’s OK, because he called.” She said she’s not going to let her son play basketball for the school anymore. “We’ll have our basketball games out in the park,” she said.
Sean Noah, 16, who attends a different high school, was in the building for swimming practice. He said he didn’t hear any shots, but that he was kept inside for about 45 minutes afterward.
Elsa Pereira, 46, a paralegal, said her 10th-grade son was watching the game. “He called me right away,” she said. “He’s OK.”
Frederick County Public Schools officials tweeted that all other staff and students were safe and accounted for.
Frederick High School, on the city’s west side, has about 1,300 students. The school district said in a statement that the school would be closed Thursday for students.