Staff and students respond to shooting near South Portland High School

·2 min read

Sep. 29—SOUTH PORTLAND — An incident response team ensured classes were held as usual Wednesday at South Portland High School after a shooting occurred overnight in the facility's upper parking lot.

Police are investigating a shooting that occurred just before 8:40 p.m. Tuesday in the parking lot at 637 Highland Ave. Responding officers found a boy with a non-life threatening gunshot wound in one leg. Rescue personnel took the boy to Maine Medical Center in Portland for treatment.

Superintendent Tim Matheney said police believe it was an isolated incident that was not related to any school activities or events, and there is no continuing threat to anyone's safety.

Matheney said he and Principal Michele LaForge convened an incident response team early Wednesday morning composed of administrators, counselors, nurses and other key staff.

Police Chief James DiGianvittorio and School Resource Officer Caleb Gray briefed the response team on the incident, then the team identified key action steps to ensure a relatively normal school day.

"It was a good day at the high school," Matheney said Wednesday afternoon. "We had good attendance. Some students met with counselors. Some shared information with the school resource officer and administrators."

Matheney sent an email to the school community Wednesday that said, "I'm pleased to report that the morning has gone very well at the high school, and attendance is typical. I'm very grateful for the high school staff whose response has been so helpful as we reassure students and provide for a great day of learning at SPHS."

A section of Highland Avenue between Mountain View and Nutter roads was closed to traffic for a few hours Tuesday night while police investigated the shooting.

The parking lot overlooks the high school's football field and tennis courts, with a view of the Portland skyline in the distance, and teens and couples gather there at night.

Several potential witnesses were present during the alleged shooting, and detectives have been conducting interviews, hoping to establish a motive for the shooting, according to a statement posted on the South Portland Police Department's Facebook page.

"This does not appear to be random and is being considered an isolated incident," said Detective Jeff Levesque. "This incident did in fact take place in what is commonly referred to as 'The Upper Lot,' which is considered part of the South Portland High School grounds. However, I would like to clarify that there is absolutely no evidence at this point that suggests this shooting was in any way 'school related.'

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Levesque at 207-799-5511, extension 7435.

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