Pennsylvania high school student injured in on-campus shooting; suspect at large

A student at Erie High School in Pennsylvania was injured in a rare on-campus shooting Tuesday, authorities said, and a suspect was still at large.

The victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds and had been stabilized, police said at an afternoon news conference. Detectives believe they have identified the shooter, a juvenile younger than 15 whose name was withheld, and officers were trying to track the person down.

"We've identified a suspect and we've consulted with the district attorney's office — and the Erie school district," Erie Police Deputy Chief Michael Nolan said at the news conference.

Nolan said investigators were in touch with the family of the suspect, who remained at large. The shooter and the victim know each other, and the attack was not random, Nolan said.

Police did not release the juvenile's name. Nolan said only, "We can't release any additional information at this time."

Erie County District Attorney Elizabeth Hirz indicated at the news conference that the suspect is younger than 15 and therefore would be treated as a juvenile if prosecuted.

Police were dispatched for reports of shots fired in a hallway at Erie High School at about 9:22 a.m., Nolan said. Detectives believe the shooter used a 9 mm firearm and that multiple rounds were fired, he said.

Police and school officials said gunfire erupted as school was in session. "There were other students in the vicinity," Nolan said.

Erie schools Superintendent Brian Polito said the campus has never had metal detectors but that students who are late to class are subject to checks with a metal detector wand. Students can also be selected at random to be checked for weapons with a wand, Polito said.

The school is closed through the end of the week, and students will be off for spring break next week.

Counselors will be available for students at a nearby arts center, the district said.

"We are devastated and angered by this senseless tragedy," Polito said in a statement. "We are hoping for the full and speedy recovery for the student involved."

The district said in a statement more than two hours after it announced the shooting that the building was secure and that there was no active threat.

In an earlier statement on Facebook, Erie's Public Schools urged people to "STAY AWAY FROM THE AREA UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE."

News: Erie, PA School Shooting (Greg Wohlford / USA Today Network)
News: Erie, PA School Shooting (Greg Wohlford / USA Today Network)

The district added that it was working to coordinate parent pickups. Buses were also available to take kids home.

"Evacuation by orderly dismissal will begin as soon as the district is cleared to do so by the Erie Bureau of Police," the school system said later.

Mayor Joe Schember said the shooting was "very saddening."

"Schools should be safe places where children learn and grow," he wrote in a statement. "I know this is difficult for parents to hear. But remember: all students are now safe!"

The president of the Erie Education Association, Mary Theuerkauf, admonished the school district for not having put security measures in place.

“For years, we have demanded that the City of Erie School District Administration and School Directors confront the multitude of safety and security threats our staff have brought before them. Each time, we’re told, ‘it will take time, we’re working on it,'" she wrote in a statement, according to Erie News Now.

"No bureaucracy is worth a human life. We will not stand by one day more until the safety of our students and staff is properly addressed," she said.

CORRECTION (April 6, 2022, 12 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated what day the shooting took place. It was Tuesday, not Monday.