Arkansas student shot on first day of in-person school

The wounded student, a 15-year-old boy, was taken to Arkansas Children’s Hospital by way of a helicopter.
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School hallway
School hallway
(Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

An Arkansas middle school student was shot Monday on the first day that in-person learning resumed following months of restrictions amid COVID-19.

The shooting at Watson Chapel Junior High School in Pine Bluff forced an emergency lockdown. One student suffered serious injuries and another is currently in police custody, KARK-TV reported.

The wounded student, a 15-year-old boy, was taken to by helicopter to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant said the student is in "very serious condition."  

Sergeant also said the incident was an "isolated and targeted" attack involving two students at the school.

He said police arrived at the school at about 10 a.m. and discovered the wounded student in a hallway. The alleged shooter,15, was found by K-9 officers hiding behind a nearby house. The charges for the shooter are currently pending. 

"We don’t have a definite motive right now as to why the incident occurred,” Sergeant said. “However, we do believe this was a targeted incident as opposed to a random incident."

All other students were safe and the school district had been on lockdown while the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the Pine Bluff Police Department investigated the situation. The lockdown was lifted by noon.

"This was an isolated incident and all students are safe at this time," the district said in a Facebook post. "The parent of the student hurt has been notified so if you have not been notified by the school your student is safe and secure."