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Hundreds of graduates are traumatized after shootings erupted at high school commencement ceremonies in Louisiana, Michigan and Tennessee in less than a 24-hour period.
Four people were injured when shots rang out at Southeastern Louisiana University Thursday night as Hammond High Magnet School seniors and their families were exiting the university’s activity center. The gunman has been arrested.
A 16-year-old boy and 40-year-old woman were also struck Thursday when multiple gunmen fired ‘a large number of shots’ from two rival cars outside a Michigan high school graduation ceremony.
Police launched an urgent manhunt for two shooters, who sped off shortly after exchanging gunfire. Both victims are expected to survive.
The two shootings come less than 24 hours after a 17-year-old boy opened fire at Middle Tennessee State University, leaving one boy, 18, dead and another, 17, injured.
The teenage gunman, who allegedly knew his victims, was arrested Thursday and was charged with first-degree murder.
Shootings erupted at high school commencement ceremonies in Louisiana, Michigan and Tennessee in less than a 24 hour period
Four people were injured when shots rang out at Southeastern Louisiana University Thursday night as Hammond High Magnet School seniors and their families were exiting the university’s activity center
Officers responded to reports of shots fired at Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU) just after 8pm Thursday as Hammond High Magnet School’s commencement was letting out.
Four people were struck and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Further information about the victims remains unknown at this time.
Hammond Police Chef Edwin Bergeron told WAFB he does not believe any juveniles or high school students were involved in the incident.
The suspected gunman was apprehended and taken into custody around 8.30pm.
Eyewitness Penny Lapre said she heard five shots ring out as she and her loved ones were leaving the activity center.
‘My son and I grabbed my son’s girlfriend and her mom and we went running and dove to the ground,’ she told Unfiltered with Kiran. ‘It was mad chaos with people running, screaming, pushing.’
Officers responded to reports of shots fired at Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU) just after 8pm Thursday as Hammond High Magnet School’s commencement was letting out
Four people were struck and suffered non-life-threatening injuries
Police not believe any juveniles or students were involved in the incident
Lapre said they stayed on the ground until they thought the ‘coast was clear’ but as they stood up, more shots were fired.
‘We thought the coast was clear, so we all got up to start running inside the building and when we did, there were multiple gunshots being fired again,’ she said.
The worried mother claims she saw one victim, who was shot in the stomach, lying on the ground nearby.
Photographs from the chaotic scene, which were shared with the outlet, seemingly show officers bringing the shooter to ground in a nearby parking lot before taking him into custody. Police have not released the identity of the gunman.
Congressman John Kennedy, of Louisiana, issued his prayers to the families impacted by Thursday’s act of violence: ‘Praying for the shooting victims and everyone affected by the violence outside Hammond High School’s graduation this evening.’
‘A night to celebrate the achievements of young men and women of Hammond High School was disrupted by senseless violence,’ Sen. Bill Cassidy echoed.
Cops in Michigan have launched an urgent manhunt for two shooters, who sped off after firing shots at each other in a parking lot near East Kentwood High School Thursday night.
The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said a teen, from Texas, was struck in the wrist and a woman, a 40-year-old from nearby Grand Rapids, was struck twice.
Both are being treated at area hospitals and said to be in stable condition. According to police, there is no known connection between the suspects and the victims.
‘It’s possible they just happened to by bystanders in the event,’ Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said during an on-site press briefing.
The sheriff said the gunfire exchange occurred as families were exiting the East Kentwood High School stadium where the district’s alternative school, Crossroads Alternative High School, was holding its commencement ceremony.
Shots were fired in the stadium at East Kentwood High School (pictured) in Michigan after a commencement ceremony for the district’s alternative school, Crossroads Alternative High School, Thursday night
The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said a teen, from Texas, was struck in the wrist and a woman, a 40-year-old from nearby Grand Rapids, was struck twice. Both are being treated at area hospitals and said to be in stable condition
Sixty students and their families were involved in Thursday night’s graduation ceremony. Attendees were able to leave immediately after the shooting.
A middle school concert happening at the same time in the school auditorium.
‘This is a very traumatic thing to go through and I would say be empathetic to other members in the community and understand that going through something like this is something that will be difficult for them … to talk through it,’ she said. ‘When we have an event like this our whole community suffers.’
Residents claim they heard a dozen shots ring out, before frantic commencement attendees tried to flee the area.
‘We were eating dinner and we just heard a whole bunch of pops,’ Zuheidy Holland told WOOD-TV. ‘Looked out the window and saw a whole bunch of kids running.’
Monez Gales, an alum of Crossroads Alternative High School, said he was driving through the area when gunfire erupted.
‘It’s sad, it’s sad man. My generation was nothing like this. We had a problem we would handle it at home,’ he explained. ‘There (were) grandmothers in there, babies in there.’
Gales alleged violence in the area has become all too common, saying: ‘It usually gets like this once that weather breaks. All we can do is pray.’
Residents claim they heard a dozen shots ring out, before frantic commencement attendees tried to flee the area
Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said cops have launched a manhunt for two suspects, both of whom sped off in white sedans after the shooting
Authorities do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the community, but LaJoye-Young did issue a stark warning about violence in the community.
‘I’m certainly concerned about the surge in violence and, again, I’ll go back to communities, keeping communities safe,’ the sheriff said. ‘We have to work together to bring these cases to resolution. We have to know that it’s up to each person in this community to keep each other safe.’
Kentwood Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Polston released a statement saying the the district will offer counseling and support to those in need.
‘When violence occurs within our community, it is both troubling and tragic,’ he penned. ‘We remain committed to the health and safety of our community and will provide support and counseling to any students that need assistance.’
Thursday’s shooting comes less than 24 hours after a 17-year-old boy fired multiple rounds, killing one person and injuring another, following a high school graduation at Middle Tennessee State University.
The incident occurred outside the Murphy Center athletic facility Wednesday night where Riverdale High School was holding the event. Witnesses recalled hearing six shots ring out.
The shooter, whose name is being withheld due to his age, was charged with first-degree murder for the death of Hasani ‘Sunny’ Brewer Gant, 18.
Hasani ‘Sunny’ Brewer Gant, 18, lost his life Wednesday after shots were fired outside his high school graduation ceremony on Middle Tennessee State University’s campus
The incident occurred outside the Murphy Center athletic facility Wednesday night where Riverdale High School was holding the event
Preliminary investigation revealed that Gant and the other victim, a 17-year-old boy, got into an altercation and the fight spilled over to the tennis court on the MTSU campus next to the Murphy Center.
That’s when the shooter, also 17, opened fire, killing Gant and injuring the other victim. Police have not released the teen’s name, but say he is in stable condition.
Police in Murfreesboro, Tennessee – where MTSU is located – said the incident, which occurred as people were leaving the graduation, was ‘not a random shooting.’
‘The two victims and the shooter knew each other,’ Officer Larry Powers told DailyMail.com. ‘This is a senseless act of violence that never should have occurred. We ask the public to join us in sending prayers to the families during this tragic and difficult time.’
The shooting remains under investigation. Police say additional charges could be filed against other individuals involved in the fatal incident.
The incident occurred in the Murphy Center athletic facility where local Riverdale High School was holding its commencement ceremony (pictured)
Preliminary investigation revealed that Gant and the other victim, a 17-year-old boy, got into an altercation and the fight spilled over to the tennis court on the MTSU campus next to the Murphy Center
Hussein, who asked to only be identified by his first name, told DailyMail.com the shooting happened shortly after commencement ended.
He was by the tennis courts with his family – who were celebrating his brother’s high school graduation – when chaos erupted.
‘Me and my family were on the other side of the tennis court. We were partying, having fun in parking lot, taking pictures and everyone was leaving,’ Hussein said. ‘There was a pause in the music to change songs and we heard five shots.
‘The last shot, the sixth shot, we heard it hit something really close that was metal — it was loud so it must have hit a pole or something. It made a loud ding and we all froze and then we saw people running away.’
Hussein recalled hearing frantic screaming as bystanders tried to flee.
‘We looked around and looked at the direction of it – we saw people running and we heard people screaming for help. While people were running away. I yelled at siblings to get in the car and my mom to drive away.
‘Then somebody runs by us and tells us two people were shot. I got my family out as quick as I could.’
Another witness claimed her daughter was traumatized by the incident.
‘I heard five shots, looked and saw my 12-year-old daughter start running,’ she told FOX 17. ‘I took off after her and she turned around and seen a child on the ground but we just keep running. So so sad. Truly is.’
The woman recalled how her daughter told her: ‘Mom, I will never forget seeing them fall to the ground.’