A student opened fire at his middle school Thursday afternoon, wounding a 14-year-old in the neck before an armed officer working at the school was able to get the gun away, police said.
Multiple shots were fired in the courtyard of Price Middle School just south of downtown around 1:50 p.m. and the one boy was hit, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said. In the aftermath, a teacher received minor cuts, he said.
The wounded boy was taken “alert, conscious and breathing” to Grady Memorial Hospital, said police spokesman Carlos Campos. He was expected to be released Thursday night.
Police swarmed the school of about 400 students after reports of the shooting while a crowd of anxious parents gathered in the streets, awaiting word on their children. Students were kept at the locked-down school for more than two hours before being dismissed.
Investigators believe the shooting was not random and that something occurred between the two students that may have led to it.
Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis said the school does have metal detectors.
“The obvious question is how did this get past a metal detector?” Davis asked about the gun. “That’s something we do not know yet.”
The armed resource officer who took the gun away was off-duty and at the school, but police didn’t release details on him or whether he is regularly at Price. Since 20 children and six adults were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December, calls for armed officers in every school have resonated across the country.
Hours after the Atlanta shooting, several school buses loaded with children pulled away from the school and stopped in front of a church about a half-block away. Parents tried boarding the buses. Police who initially tried to stop the parents, relented and screamed, “Let them off!” about the students.
James Bolton was at work when his sister called saying a teen had been shot at his son’s school and was in the crowd as parents began swarming the fleet of buses.