A 15-year-old junior high school student was shot by another boy just hours after in-person learning resumed Monday, police in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, say. Police say the student was seriously injured in the shooting at Watson Chapel Junior High School, which happened as students were switching classes around 10am, the AP reports. The school had been closed for weeks due to weather and water issues. Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant said the suspect, who is also 15 years old, ran away after the shooting, but a police tracking dog found him hiding behind a house near the school, reports KATV. The suspect was taken to a juvenile detention center. Prosecutors have not disclosed whether they plan to charge him as an adult.
The chief said the injured student was airlifted to a hospital 40 miles away in Little Rock in "very serious condition." He said police don't have a "definite motive" in the shooting, but they believe "this was a targeted incident as opposed to a random incident." All campuses in the district were locked down for around an hour after the shooting. The New York Times notes that school shootings have become a lot less common during the pandemic. According to Education Week, there were 10 shootings on school properties in 2020 that resulted in injuries or deaths, down from 25 in 2019. According to the publication, this is the second such shooting of 2021. On Friday, a police officer was shot and killed during a high school basketball game in New Orleans. (Read more school shooting stories.)