Police collected dozens of bullet casings from the scene of the shooting, roughly a block and a half from Little Rock Central. After going on lockdown for about an hour, students were sent home early.
Reports and photos from inside Little Rock Central High indicate at least one window was shot out in a drive-by shooting near the school today. No one was injured, Little Rock Police reported on social media.
At a press conference this afternoon, Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey said his most current information was that two bullets struck the school.
Superintendent Mike Poore confirmed that one of those bullets came through the window of a classroom filled with students. Other students were eating lunch outside when the shooting happened and had to seek shelter, he said. The school was not the target of the shooting, but students were affected, and mental health services will be provided to them, Poore said. “This needs to be their safe haven. They need to feel safe.”
Also at the press conference, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. promised that the shooter would be apprehended. “We will get you,” he said. Police Chief Keith Humphrey, also in attendance, said the department would look to pursue federal charges against the gunman, which would ensure the perpetrator did as much as 90-95% of his sentence, the chief said.
Poore and Humphrey both praised the school administration and teachers for quickly putting students into lockdown. Students were dismissed early to make way for Little Rock Police to come inside to investigate, and Wednesday classes will be virtual.
An initial email from Principal Nancy Rousseau to parents claiming the shooting had nothing to do with the school proved inaccurate.
Good Afternoon, Tiger Family:
This is Principal Nancy Rousseau. We wanted to make you aware of an incident that occurred near campus today. Central is in a temporary lockdown following a report of gunfire in the community. The incident did not have anything to do with our school, but as a precaution, we made the decision to go into temporary lockdown for the safety of students and staff. Central followed our protocols and will follow-up with you as soon as the lockdown is lifted. NRousseau
Superintendent Mike Poore said the email, while inaccurate, reflected the best information school officials had at the time, and that further information would be sent out soon.
The second email that went out to parents about the incident still failed to include information about the school being hit.
A later Facebook post from the district relayed another message from Rousseau:
Good afternoon Central High School parents, this is Principal Nancy Rousseau. I’m calling to update you regarding the incident in the community near Central. Contrary to any rumors, there is no active shooter at the scene and all students are safe. We did go on a lockdown as a precaution due to reports of shots fired; we subsequently learned that some bullets struck the building. This incident is evolving and our first priority is the safety of our students and staff.
We worked with LRPD to quickly implement the lockdown, and continue to assist with their investigation.We determined the next best steps were to continue working with LRPD to work toward orderly, safe dismissal of students.We will be dismissing school in approximately 30 minutes. Please be patient as we work to ensure that all students are released to their parents or to buses. Special needs students will be dropped off at their homes. Again, your students are safe. We will update you as information is shared. NRousseau
Nancy L. RousseauPrincipal
Little Rock Central High School
Parents started swarming the front steps of the school soon after the incident, which happened around 11:30. Parents took to Twitter to say they’d gotten the dreaded text message from kids, telling them they were on lockdown because of gunshots.