Shooting outside Ottawa Hills HS leads to lockdowns

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) —  An apparent drive-by shooting near Ottawa Hills High School led to lockdowns at several nearby schools Thursday.

Grand Rapids police say at 10:35 a.m., they were notified that a shooting victim was inside the high school, located at 2055 Rosewood Ave. SE near Burton Street SE.

As officers responded, GRPS put the school in full lockdown.

Investigators say two 17-year-old boys were walking down the street just beyond school property when they spotted a black vehicle driving eastbound on Burton Street SE. The teens told police they ran when they heard gunshots coming from the vehicle.. 

Officers initially said one of the teenagers suffered a gunshot wound to his foot; police later said the victim was shot once and his injuries are not life-threatening.

Investigators found six shell casings at the scene.

Both victims sought refuge at Ottawa Hills High School, according to GRPD. Grand Rapids Public Schools spokesman John Helmholdt says both teens are not GRPS students.

So far, no arrests have been made in the case, and there is no clear description of the shooter.

>>Photos: Aug. 30, 2018 shooting in Grand Rapids

Police say as soon as officers determined the school was secure, Ottawa Hills High School went into “soft lockdown,” meaning classes continue, but all exit and entry doors remain locked with no one allowed to enter or exit.

Immaculate Heart of Mary elementary school, located nearby, and Grand Rapids Christian Schools, excluding Rockford Christian, also went into a lockdown as a precaution, administrators confirm. GRCS lifted its lockdown just before 12:30 p.m.; Immaculate Heart of Mary stayed in “soft lockdown” mode until the end of the school day.

Police asked the public to stay away from Ottawa Hills High School and parents to be patient while they investigated the incident. Once the scene was processed, police reopened the road and the lockdown at Ottawa Hills was lifted. 

Grand Rapids Public Schools held a meeting at 3:30 p.m. for parents who wanted information about how this incident was handled. Helmholdt said most of the questions were “pretty standard,” with parents inquiring about the lockdown process, staff response, student accommodations and rumors.

“The rumors were out there… that this actually happened on school property. There was a rumor someone was actually in the building, so there were a lot of rumors that needed to be dispelled,” Helmholdt elaborated.

He said parents also commended the district on its quick response and communications. 

“(There were) multiple sets of communication going out to keep them informed and assure them there kids are safe and secure,” he said.

Police say counselors will also be available for students, parents and faculty, as needed.

Anyone with information leading to the shooter is encouraged to contact GRPD or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

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