GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Three teens were shot near Hope Academy of West Michigan on the southeast side of Grand Rapids Monday afternoon, prompting police to set up a perimeter in the area around the school at 240 Brown St. SE.
Authorities found two victims near the school. Both are students and neither sustained life-threatening injuries. One of those was a 17-year-old female who was shot in the leg. The details of the other student's injuries have not yet been released.
A 16-year-old male was shot in the torso and found on nearby Dickinson Street SE. He was alert, talking and providing information to police on the scene. He is not a student at Hope Academy, police said.
All three victims were taken to hospitals and expected to survive.
"It did not happen on school property," GRPD Capt. Eric Payne told 24 Hour News 8. "There were two students that were actually shot, though. We believe it was somewhere on Lafayette [Avenue], near the school, but it was not on school property."
Police said there may have been as many as three shooters. A GRPD sergeant told 24 Hour News 8 that one of the shooters may attend the school.
"Two to three subjects ran north from the scene and we have a perimeter set up to try and catch the subjects," said Capt. Payne.
Classes at Hope Academy dismiss at 2:56 p.m. GRPD said the first call about the shooting came in four minutes later at 3 p.m. The school was placed on lockdown.
Hope Academy of West Michigan is a K-12 charter school, which means some younger students saw what happened and the aftermath that followed.
As of 3:40 p.m., GRPD was on the scene and officers were placing yellow evidence markers near where the young man was found in the 200 block of Dickinson Street, just a block away from the school.
A woman who asked not to be identified saw what went down as the third teen was shot just outside her door.
"I heard gunshots," she said. "I saw the young man come around the corner. They were running. There was like five or six of them. They were really running. And the young man collapsed over there about two driveways from my house."
People living in the neighborhood say violence in the area is "commonplace."
"Happens so much you know, you become numb to it," said Dickson Street resident William Videan.
GRPD confirmed to 24 Hour News 8 that there have been incidents this school year involving guns and shots fired in the neighborhood around Hope Academy, but said that it's unknown if those incidents have anything at all to do with the Monday afternoon shooting.
According to GRPD's crime map, there have been reports of 20 assaults and seven weapons-related incidents within a half-mile of Hope Academy since Sept. 1.
In a statement, Hope Academy of West Michigan Superintendent Heidi Cate said, "We can confirm that shortly after dismissal today, two Hope Academy students were shot. The incident occurred outside of school property. Emergency personnel were immediately contacted and the school was put into lockdown in line with our standard procedure. We are thankful that neither student sustained life threatening injuries. Based on the reports of staff who witnessed the incident, we do not believe the suspects are Hope Academy students. We are cooperating fully with authorities and would direct any further questions to the Grand Rapids Police Department."
Hope Academy of West Michigan is chartered by Ferris State University. In a statement late Monday afternoon, News Services and Social Media Manager Sandy Gholston said, in part:
"Following the shooting, the school immediately went into lockdown. The University and its Charter Schools Office take security issues very seriously. Hope Academy features a single point of entry where visitors are buzzed into the school as one security measure. Additionally, staff members accompany students out of the school at the end of the day and greet them at the school at the beginning of the day. The University's primary concern is with the safety of students and staff at all Ferris State University-authorized charter schools."
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