A Memphis student was in critical but stable condition and a classmate was in police custody after a shooting Thursday morning at Cummings Elementary School, authorities said.
At a press briefing just after 11 a.m., Memphis assistant chief of police Don Crowe said police received a call at 9:15 a.m. from within the school that a student had been shot.
Officers from the police department and Shelby County Schools responded immediately and found the injured student, Crowe said. The student — believed to be 13 years old — was taken to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, he said.
Officers then searched the school — which is in the Sousville neighborhood and serves 395 students in kindergarten through eighth grade — and began evacuating students, Crowe said.
Crowe said video evidence indicated the shooter was another student, who was seen fleeing in a vehicle. While a police tactical unit and federal agents were doing another sweep of the school building, the alleged shooter turned himself in at a police precinct, he said.
After the shooting, students were dismissed from school and taken to Metropolitan Baptist Church down the street, where anxious parents huddled under umbrellas.
Shelby County Schools Superintendent Joris Ray has notified board members and was headed to the hospital to support the family, spokeswoman Jerica Phillips said at the news conference.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the student and the student this morning,” she said.
Shelby County Schools Superintendent Joris Ray speaks with members of the press outside of Metropolitan Baptist Church.Cathryn Stout / Chalkbeat
She said the school went into a “precautionary lockdown” after the shooting. She added that the district had conducted active shooter training this month, and that all schools had turned in their own emergency response plans.
On the most recent school report card from Shelby County Schools, Cummings was listed as “needing improvement” with low ratings in academics and in school climate. The school has struggled with decreasing enrollment since 2015, when it was called an academic “jewel” by the district for fostering community support in south Memphis and raising student test scores in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.