Arizona high schoolers’ shooting deaths ruled a murder-suicide
- 15-year-old girls were killed at Independence high school in Glendale
- Both victims were shot once and a weapon was found near the bodies
By Griselda Nevarez and Sam Levin
The shooting deaths of two teenage girls at a high school in Glendale, Arizona were a case of murder-suicide, the police said.
Glendale police spokeswoman Tracey Breeden said a suicide note was located at the scene of Friday morning’s shooting at Independence High School.
She said both victims were shot once and a weapon was found near the bodies.
Breeden said the teens had been positively identified, but their names were not being released by police because they were juveniles.
The girls, both 15-year-old sophomores, were each shot once, Breeden said.
“This is not an active shooter situation, and we realized that once we got on the scene,” Breeden said. She could not confirm if one of the girls had killed themselves but said to parents: “Your children are safe.”
“This occurred in an isolated area,” Glendale police sergeant David Vidaure added.
The campus at Independence high school, located in a suburb of Phoenix, was on lockdown on Friday morning. About 2,000 students are enrolled at the public high school.
Earlier on Friday, Breeded had said, “This is not an active shooter situation, and we realized that once we got on the scene,” Breeden said, and saying to parents: “Your children are safe.”
Breeden said the police department received a call just before 8am from the school to report a shooting. Police officers were on the scene in less than two minutes and found the bodies of the two students near the school’s cafeteria under a covered patio area. The girls were declared dead at the scene. Police said they had no information on who may have fired the shots.
“It’s a tragic incident,” Breeden said. “Two young people are dead this morning. We send our condolences out to the family, the loved ones and the friends of those two young girls.”
Superintendent Brian Capistran said social workers from the school district were providing support for students and faculty.
“Our focus is on our students, our faculty, and our staff and ensuring that they have the appropriate support to get through this,” he said.
Arianna Trujillo, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school, said she had a history class with one of the girls who died. She said she worked with her and other students on group projects several times.
“She would always ask questions in class and was very funny and outgoing,” Arianna said.
She said she was walking to her first class when she saw police on campus and was told to go to the nearest classroom. She stayed in her art class for almost two hours before she and other students were allowed to leave campus.
“I never imagined something like this would happen at my school,” Arianna said.
The Glendale school district set up a staging area where parents could pick up their students, officials announced. Dozens of anxious parents were gathering, waiting to reunite with their children.
Arizona’s governor, Doug Ducey, said early in the day the he was monitoring the situation and tweeted sympathies: “Our prayers are with the students, educators & families at Independence High School & all the first responders on the scene.”