Police have not made any arrests after two students were injured in a shooting outside the Frederick High School gym Wednesday night as a junior varsity basketball game was played inside.
Frederick Police on Thursday said they have not yet identified any suspects or a motive for the attack that left two Frederick County school students injured. Police continued to search around the building Thursday morning. School officials closed Frederick High and nearby West Frederick Middle to students. School staff, however, reported to work at their normal hours. All other Frederick County schools remained open.
Police said it is unclear how many people were involved in the shooting.They continue to investigate the motive, though some students have reported to police that the incident might have been gang-related or connected to two rival teams.
Investigators also are looking into reports from students who said they saw four to five males — dressed in big coats and hands in their pockets — walk into the gymnasium during the game and leave shortly before the gunfire rang out, Frederick Police Capt. Richard Hetherington said.
Officers were called at about 8:10 p.m. at the school in the 600 block of Carroll Parkway for a report of shots fired.
The Frederick junior varsity basketball team was playing a game against Gov. Thomas Johnson High, school officials said.
Two junior varsity basketball games were going on at the time of the shooting, bringing students from at least two other high schools on campus, Frederick County public schools spokesman Michael Doerrer said.
The victims attend a Frederick County school, but not Frederick High, Doerrer said.
They were flown to a Baltimore hospital for non life-threatening injuries, Frederick Police said in a statement. They have not been identified and police have not given an update on their condition Thursday.
The victims were teenagers, according to the Frederick County firefighter's union, IAFF Local 3666. Police did not provide their names or ages.
The shooter or shooters are believed to have fled the scene on foot, Hetherington said.
Officers took about 200 people who were at the game into the school cafeteria, secured the building and questioned witnesses, Hetherington said.
Staff and security personnel were at the game and locked down the school. After police searched the building and conducted interviews, students were taken to the Terrace Lanes Bowling Alley parking lot where they were picked up by their parents.
Just before midnight, a school bus and a police van pulled into the lot and let off about a dozen students, the first group to be released.
Frederick High School junior Sofia McCluskey told the Associated Press that she was watching the game and heard a muffled shot. "Someone yelled, `Yo, they're shooting,"' she said. "And we just ran as fast as we could."
She and her friend, Stephanie Sanchez, said they ran to the locker room and were taken to the cafeteria, where they waited and were briefly interviewed by police.
Sanchez said it was a frightening experience. "I was, like, shaking the whole time. I still am," she said.
Tim May said his company, May Investigations, provided two unarmed security guards during the game. One each was positioned at the front and back entrances of the gymnasium.
"Our job is not to be outside," he said. "When the shooting occurred outside, they moved with the crowd down to the cafeteria."
May said he spoke to the guards during the incident. He said after the shooting, the two students came into the corridor that leads to the gym.
"I guess that's why there was a heightened panic," he said.
Up until then, he said, "it was a very peaceful, very quiet game."
He said the school's athletic director determines the number of guards needed, and that turnout was expected to be low. He said about 200 attended. A varsity game recently had much larger crowds, when seven guards were requested.
May said the school typically will have an officer on campus during school hours but will hire unarmed security guards during evenings events, though sometimes police officers may be stationed at the school during football games.
"I'm hoping they find out this was not school related," he said. "I think everyone was well pleased with the actions after the incidents. There is zero ways to prevent this. You can report it, you can protect. There's no guarantee." He added, "I don't know what could have been done differently."
Frederick County Public Schools announced the incident on Twitter: "Earlier this evening, two students were wounded in an incident at Frederick High. They are receiving care."
"All other staff and students at Frederick High are safe and accounted for," the school system said. "Stay tuned. We will have more updates later."
As a precaution, Hood College was also placed on lock down Wednesday night, police said.
Officials said a crisis team will be available to students and staff. School officials are making arrangements to return all personal items left at the school.
If anyone has any information on the shooting, they are asked to call police.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.