HOUSTON – Police arrested the suspected gunman and a second person Tuesday in connection with the slaying of a male student at Bellaire High School that happened nearly four hours before their arrest, officials said.
The Houston Fire Department and Bellaire Police Department responded to the shooting around 4 p.m. Police said the shooting happened in the school’s courtyard, which is an outdoor area on the property.
Emergency crews were seen performing CPR as the student was being transported on a stretcher and into an ambulance. The Houston Independent School District later confirmed the student had died. The cause of the shooting is unknown.
Students told KPRC 2 that the victim was shot just after 7th period, as class let out for the day. Officials said it was not an active shooting situation.
The suspect ran from the scene but was caught and arrested by Bellaire police officers at 8900 Chimney Rock at Caversham near a Sunny’s store Tuesday night, along with a second person also connected to the case, officials said.
Officials said the accused gunman is also a student at Bellaire High School. One parent said her son knew both the gunman and the victim.
“What do you mean your friend just got shot?” The mother said she asked her son when he told her the news. “And he said, a friend of mine just shot my other friend. And I was like, wait, where? And he told me it (happened at) ROTC.”
Houston Independent School District Superintendent Grenita Lathan spoke at a press conference Tuesday night.
“Our hearts go out to that student’s family, his friends, his classmates and the staff here at Bellaire High School,” she said. “It’s a tragic loss to our school community and our city.”
Lathan said the investigation is ongoing and the district is working closely with the Bellaire Police Department. She said Bellaire High School is expected to be open Wednesday with heavy security present but later announced in a press release that classes will be canceled.
HISD released the following statement:
“HISD will cancel classes for students at Bellaire High School tomorrow, Wednesday, January 15. However, staff members are asked to report to campus. Bellaire High School students should report to school on Thursday, January 16.”
Lanthan said the district will also provide counselors for students who were impacted by the shooting.
The city of Bellaire Mayor Andrew S. Friedberg released the following statement:
We're all shocked and devastated by this afternoon’s senseless tragedy at Bellaire High School. Our hearts are foremost with the victim and his family, and we stand together in solidarity with the entire BHS community in mourning this horrific loss. The City of Bellaire is working with and will continue to provide our support to school administration and HISD, now and in the days to come.
School shootings take place with such alarming frequency, it’s easy to become desensitized and lulled into complacency. We see it on TV, and while we know it can happen anywhere, it’s not supposed to happen here. Yet today it has.
As a parent, I’m positively stricken having to explain to my young children the events of today, and the harsh realities of the world in which they live. I’m shaken to my very core, seeing their innocence abruptly taken from them. I honestly don’t know how to answer all their questions, or to give them the reassurance they need when I’m not always so sure myself. I can’t help but hold them tighter.
As a neighbor, I’m in stunned disbelief that this has happened right here, that one of our own kids won’t be coming home tonight. I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness for all the students and their families, for whom everything has forever changed. School is supposed to be a safe place, but our very basic sense of security now gives way to worry. We owe it to our children to find some way to restore it.
In times of crisis, we’ve shown what it means to be a community. We’re here for each other, and will move forward together through this difficult time. We’re thankful for our first responders and for all they’ve done today, and will continue to hold near and pray for the victim and his family.