SANDY, Utah (AP) — Police are working to determine how a 14-year-old got a gun used to critically wound another teenager after an argument near a Salt Lake City-area middle school.
They're also looking at whether the alleged shooter had the weapon with him inside Union Middle School before the Tuesday shooting, said Sandy Police Sgt. Dean Carriger.
It happened along a main pathway out of the school as students were leaving for the day and was witnessed by dozens of people, he said.
A 16-year-old boy who attends nearby Hillcrest High School was shot twice. He is hospitalized in critical but stable condition, police said. The 14-year-old has been arrested and booked into juvenile dentation on suspicion of attempted murder and two counts of discharging a weapon causing serious bodily injury.
The two were involved in an ongoing conflict and had planned to meet behind the school, though the details are still being investigated, though investigators don't think gang involvement was a factor in the dispute, Carriger said.
Prosecutors are expected to weigh charges in the case Friday, he said.
The school in Sandy, about 15 miles south of Salt Lake City, was briefly locked down after the shooting. Classes resumed Wednesday morning with extra police posted near the entrances and walking the hallways, said Canyons School District spokesman Jeff Haney.
"The message we are sending is that this school is a safe place to be, even though a traumatic event did happen here yesterday," said Haney, who described the shooting as an isolated incident. Crisis counselors were also available to talk with teachers and students.
The extra officers also give students a way to report anything they know about the shooting, said Carriger. Extra police presence is expected to last through the week.
Cami Lance, whose daughter attends the school, said the violence left both students and parents shaken — though she's also glad it wasn't a mass shooting.
Still, she wondered about the weapon and whether the teen had it with him in the building.
"If one person did it, what's next?" she said.
Student Juzel Rivera, 12, said he heard a bang the afternoon of the shooting. His parents were scared to send him to school the next day, he said, but he convinced them he needed his education.
"Life's life. Not everyone is safe all the time," he said.