NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The Newport News Community is reeling after two 17-year-old students were shot inside Heritage High School Monday afternoon.
Both are alive and recovering, and the suspect is in custody.
"Respond for a shooting at Heritage High School 5800 Marshall Avenue," said police dispatch around 11:38 Monday morning.
"Get as many units as I can to the front of the school right now," an officer said minutes later.
Jayden Swilling was inside the school when the chaos started.
"We heard on the announcements 'lockdown, lockdown.' At first, we thought it was a drill," he said. "Then they said it is a shooter in the school. We all was in the corner and we was quiet."
According to Newport News Police, a boy was shot in the side of the face, and another girl was hit in her leg.
Tiyanna Osborne said the gunshots rang out around lunchtime and she was pushed to the ground in the rush to get outside
"Everyone started running and pushing me over. I did fall to the ground for a split second," she recalled. "But I had enough strength to get up and run out of there as fast as I could."
Curtis Collins said from his classroom, he heard six shots.
"I heard 'boom boom.' That’s all I heard" he said. "I want to feel safe at school."
When students evacuated the building, they were sent to the tennis courts where parents were able to meet them.
Pastor Thurmond Leonard said when he got the call from his grandson, he dropped everything.
"I made it my business to stop what I was doing and rushed here."
Police Chief Steve Drew said they believe the victims know the accused shooter.
Around 2:50 p.m., the suspect was taken into custody off school property.
Drew said the suspect is a teenage boy, but would not confirm if he was a student at Heritage High.
"Next will be to understand why. Why did this happen what was the motive for this to occur."
Two other students were taken the hospital who were hurt in the rush to get out of the building.
One with a hurt arm, the other with breathing problems due to asthma.
Drew said they [the police] are relieved everyone is alive.
"The most important thing is to make sure everyone is okay."
Heritage High School and Huntington Middle School will be closed on Tuesday.
The school division acknowledged what happened Monday may cause trauma or anxiety for their students and staff, so they’re reminding everyone to contact a school counselor or mental health therapist for guidance or support.
In a tweet Tuesday morning, the school announced that a support hotline has been established to assist students, parents and staff. Those who need counseling or support can call 757-283-7868. Specialists will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.