Four teenagers have been taken into police custody after a shooting at a high school in Montgomery, Alabama. The shooting took place on Tuesday at Robert E. Lee High School.
Authorities have not disclosed any information about what prompted the violence, nor have they released any names.
A 17-year old student suffered a gunshot wound to the arm and was treated and released by a local hospital. There were no other reported victims in the shooting on Tuesday. Four suspects were arrested by police.
Lockdown and prayer circle
Parents of students at Robert E. Lee High School were rattled after learning of the shooting, which occurred inside the school’s gymnasium. Many parents and residents gathered across the street from the school campus, commiserating and worrying about the safety of the schoolchildren.
While concerned parents gathered across the street, the high school was placed on lockdown, as authorities searched the school as a safety precaution. As time passed, parents grew more concerned, asking officials when they would be able to see their children.
In one particularly powerful and touching moment, the group of parents and residents held hands, forming a circle. They embraced and began a prayer for peace, led by two local church figures.
Reason for violence
Although police have not disclosed any information about what prompted the violence, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange told a news conference that shooting wasn’t random.
Alabama ranks second in a list of U.S. states with the most gun violence. The gun death rate in Alabama 21.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. Only Alaska reported a higher gun death rate, with 23.3 deaths per 1000,000 residents.
Alabama has relatively very liberal gun control laws, although the state still regulates some aspects of firearm ownership and possession. In 2015, new gun laws went into effect in Alabama, notably to prevent those with mental illness from purchasing firearms.