This story was last updated at 8:05 p.m. to add comments from Interim Superintendent Monifa McKnight and County Executive Marc Elrich.
A 17-year-old Col. Zadok Magruder High School student has been arrested and charged with shooting another student at the school in Derwood on Friday, Montgomery County police said.
The male student who was shot had serious injuries and was taken to a hospital for surgery, according to police.
School security “became aware of a situation” in a school bathroom at 12:53 p.m. Friday and someone called 911 at 12:57 p.m., Police Chief Marcus Jones told reporters during a briefing on Friday.
At 1:05 p.m., the school went into full lockdown mode. A lockdown differs from shelter-in-place in that it is used for more serious situations, and instruction does not continue, unlike in shelter-in-place.
Jones said police officers and county sheriff’s deputies secured and searched the building. The alleged shooter was found and taken into custody just after 3 p.m., he said.
Jones said a gun was found nearby when officers found the student accused of the shooting.
“The school went into lockdown immediately upon notification that we had discovered that an individual had been shot at the school ….,” Jones said. “That meant that the doors were locked shut with teachers and students inside those classrooms.
“We methodically slowed down the investigation at that point because we did not believe there was an ongoing threat at that very moment. So, it took us a couple of hours for us to put everything together, locate that [accused shooter] and place that student into custody.”
Jones said officers determined that it was not an “active shooter” situation, with an ongoing threat to others, because no other threats were made.
During Friday’s briefing with reporters, Montgomery County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Monifa McKnight offered thoughts and prayers to the student who was injured.
“We have to continue to expect and support our students to interact in a nonviolent manner,” she said.
“Overall, MCPS schools are safe and incidents like today’s shooting are extremely rare,” she said. “But when they do occur, it requires us to look carefully at what happened, what could have been done to prevent it and what we can do make sure our schools are safer.”
McKnight said guns and gun violence are “a problem that we all must own and react to swiftly and with much thought behind it.”
“We must find a way not only to keep guns out of our schools, but to keep them out of the hands of our young people and in our community. And so that’s all of our responsibility, and I invite our community to continue to work with us to address just that issue,” she said.
McKnight said a crisis management team will be available for students and staff members over the weekend.
In a letter, Principal Leroy Evans said that dismissal of students was to start between 5 and 6 p.m. Students who ride buses were to be dismissed first.
The school planned to let parents know when they can pick up other students at the stadium parking lot, the letter says.
Evans apologized in the letter for an earlier message that said there was no immediate threat to the safety of students or the staff.
“We regret using that language as the police continued to actively conduct an investigation inside the school,” the letter says. “Our following message clarified that the police continued to be involved in resolving the situation and confirming the school’s safety.”
Evans’ letter says the school will provide more information about social-emotional support available for students and employees, “starting this evening via Zoom and continuing over the weekend and into next week.”
“We commit to keeping you informed and will do so thoroughly and frequently in the coming days,” the letter says.
In a statement on Friday evening, County Executive Marc Elrich said:
“Today’s incident at Col. Zadok Magruder High School is tragic and saddening. My thoughts are with the student victim in the shooting, and I hope for a speedy recovery. … I am especially grateful to Magruder’s School Health Nurse Megan Wilson for her lifesaving actions that directly helped save the injured student. … This was a very delicate situation, but it was dealt with by a group of professionals who did what they have been trained to do. Lives were saved because of their efforts, and for this I am grateful.”
The Montgomery County Council also issued a statement that said:
“All the members of the Council are heartbroken by the senseless shooting at Magruder High School. We wish the student who was shot and seriously injured a full and swift recovery. We are also thinking of the student’s family members, friends and the entire Magruder High School community ….”
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