Two 15-year-old girls died on Friday in a shooting at a high school in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale and were found with a gun beside them, police said.
Glendale police spokeswoman Tracey Breeden said it was too early to determine if the incident at Independence High involved a suicide. But police were not seeking a suspect in the shooting and the school and surrounding community faced no threat, she said.
After a report of gunfire on Friday morning, police rushed to the school and found the two girls under a covered patio on the campus, Breeden said.
Each girl had a single gunshot wound and both were declared dead at the scene, with the gun beside them, she said. Police did not immediately release the girls’ names.
The school was placed on lockdown after the shooting and the street in front of the campus was shut down. During the lockdown students issued updates on social media from their classrooms as dozens of anxious parents, who were barred from the campus, gathered in the parking lot of a nearby Wal-Mart store to await their children.
Jasmine Molina, 15, was in English class when the lockdown was declared.
“I never thought it would happen here. This tells me that it could happen anywhere, at any school, even if it’s a good school,” said Molina, who was holding a stuffed bear her boyfriend had given her that morning for Valentine’s Day.
Ana Lisa Romero, whose son, Lalo, attends the school, said in a Facebook message to Reuters, “I am going crazy just thinking that could have been my son or nieces or nephews.”
Public officials expressed condolences over the shooting.
“Our hearts remain with the students, educators and families of Independence High School and the entire Glendale community,” Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said in a statement.
Independence High, which is just a couple miles outside Phoenix, has about 2,000 students, school district representative Sara Clawson said.
(Additional reporting by Eric Johnson in Seattle and Gina Cherelus in New York,; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Scott Malone, Bill Trott and Jeffrey Benkoe)