A 14-year-old student suffered a gunshot wound to the head Thursday outside a middle school in Atlanta, Georgia, police and school officials said.
The victim was conscious and alert at Grady Memorial Hospital, his mother told CNN affiliate WSB-TV. A fellow Price Middle School student was in custody, according to police and Atlanta Public Schools. No other students were harmed in the 1:50 p.m. shooting.
An off-duty Atlanta police officer working as a school resource officer disarmed and apprehended the suspect immediately after the shooting, police Chief George Turner said.
Police detectives were interviewing the victim in the hospital, his mother told WSB-TV. He knows the assailant, who the mother said was “talking smack” to her son between classes before pulling out a gun and firing, the station said.
Sandra Armour, a cousin of the victim’s mother, said at the hospital there was no gang connection. “(The victim) is a good kid,” Armour said. She said she didn’t know whether either the victim or the suspect had ever been bullied.
The victim is expected to be released this evening, school district Superintendent Erroll Davis said at a 5 p.m. news conference.
The school was locked down while a police tactical team swept the building for threats and administrators accounted for all students and faculty. Some parents grew restless and complained about a lack of communication while waiting for their children.
“Plans are always good until something happens and things go wrong, and then you learn,” Davis said.
At 4:45 p.m. students were loaded onto buses and reunited with their families at a church less than two blocks from the school.
Price Middle School has about 400 students and has metal detectors at the doors, Davis said. He said the district would investigate how the assailant was able to carry a gun.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed issued the following statement:
“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. A suspect has been taken into custody. 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.”
By Jim Kavanagh
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