Authorities have arrested and taken into custody two 17-year-old males in connection with the shooting of two students near Graham-Kapowsin High School.
Police said Wednesday that they are still searching for a third suspect, also a male, who is believed to have fired the shots that wounded the students. Authorities are asking for the public's help in identifying him, and they caution that he is considered armed and dangerous.
Here is the latest information on the investigation from the Pierce County Sheriff Department:
On Tuesday evening, deputies contacted a teenage male student from GKHS at his residence in Spanaway. The deputies were following up on leads from multiple witnesses who reported that the male was involved in the fight that led up to the shooting, and he had reportedly fled in a green Chevrolet Impala with the other suspects. The 17-year-old male suspect was arrested and booked into Remann Hall on suspicion of drive-by-shooting and assault in the first degree.
The green Chevrolet Impala used by the suspects to flee the crime scene was located late Tuesday night by Tacoma Police officers outside a residence in Tacoma. Pierce County Sheriff detectives responded to the scene and arrested a teenage male, who is believed to be a student at Clover Park High School in Lakewood. The 17-year-old male suspect was arrested and booked into Remann Hall on suspicion of the same crimes as the first suspect. The vehicle was impounded for a search warrant.
The third suspect (last seen wearing a gray and blue hooded jacket) hasn’t been identified. He is believed to be the shooter and should be considered armed and dangerous. Detectives are asking for you’re the public’s help in identifying this suspect. Anyone with information can contact the Sheriff Department or leave a tip with Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County at 1-800-222-TIPS.
The following account was posted Tuesday, Dec. 5:
Two Graham-Kapowsin High School students were wounded Tuesday afternoon in a shooting near the school that apparently stemmed from a gang-related fight.
The victims were taken to hospitals for medical treatment. Meanwhile, possible suspects in the shooting remained at-large after fleeing the area, according to authorities. No information was reported about whether there was more than one shooter.
The high school was put in a lockdown that lasted for nearly four hours before it was lifted at 6:15 p.m. and school buses began taking students home. Classes will resume Wednesday, but two hours later than usual.
Two neighboring schools also were in lockdown after the shooting but were reopened earlier than the high school and their students were released, said Bethel School District officials.
The Pierce County Sheriff Department released this account of the shootings:
At 2:27 p.m., deputies responded to multiple 9-1-1 calls about shots fired near Graham-Kapowsin High. Callers reported that there was a fight near the school grounds right before the shots were heard, then multiple vehicles were seen fleeing the area – including at least one carrying the suspects.
Deputies found two gunshot victims -- one in the school parking lot near a football field, the other inside a locker room. Both were taken to a hospital.
The high school campus is alongside the campuses of Frontier Middle School and Nelson Elementary School. All three schools were locked down while deputies searched the buildings and grounds.
Investigators determined that the shooting occurred during a fight just off school grounds on Eustis-Hunt Road East. The two students who were shot ran back onto the high school grounds before being located by deputies.
Witnesses described the suspects as black males who reportedly fled the scene in a green automobile, possibly a Chevrolet Impala or similar in appearance. The shooting may be gang-related, and the suspects aren’t believed to be students at the high school.
“We are confident that the shooters fled the area and there are no suspects at the school or on the school grounds,” a Sheriff Department spokesman said.
At least some of the students who were still at the high school after the shooting were reunited with their parents at Frontier Middle School gymnasium.
The school district announced the lifting of the lockdown at Graham-Kapowsin, as well as the two-hour delay of the start of school there Wednesday.
In a prepared statement, district officials offered their “ thoughts and prayers” for the students involved in the shooting and their families, and gave reassurance that students on the campus “are safe.”
All after-school activities at the high school and the middle school were canceled Tuesday.