DALLAS - Dallas ISD said it will increase security following this weekend’s shooting at a high school basketball game.
Police arrested a 15-year-old student for Saturday night’s shooting at the Ellis Davis Field House. It happened just before the end of the game between South Oak Cliff High School and Kimball High School.
Several teenagers got into an argument. Officers were in the process of escorting them out when the juvenile suspect pulled out a gun and shot an 18-year-old former student who was also involved in the fight. The victim, who is now attending a charter school, was shot in the chest and taken to the hospital in critical condition. Police believe he was the intended target.
A Dallas ISD police officer was also hit by a bullet or bullet fragment. Thankfully, she was wearing a protective vest.
“We also have a very brave female officer who was hit,” Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa explained. “And she is recovering well, her recovery looks to be a full recovery.”
Police quickly released images of three persons of interest. FOX 4 has now blurred their faces because they are all accounted for and all are juveniles.
The superintendent says people did the right thing.
“There were some brave individuals. There’s this culture of do not snitch,” Hinojosa said. “But because of the media coverage and the photographs that we had, we had some people identify the suspects almost immediately.”
The 15-year-old suspect was brought to the Dallas Police headquarters by his mother. The other two juveniles were questioned but not charged. Police have not said what started the friction that ended in gunfire.
“There’s no indication that it was gang-related at all,” said Dallas Police Asst. Chief Avery Moore. “And from the Dallas perspective, we're just here to assist. We did take the lead on the investigation process, and that’s kind of our role in this. Just to support DISD the best way that we can.”
Neither the 15-year-old in juvenile custody nor the 18-year-old in critical condition had any connection to the teams, the schools or the game being played.
“I want to be very clear. Please do not blame SOC, and please do not blame Kimball for this. This was totally out of their control. Extracurricular activities have been a district goal for the last several years and we encouraged kids to be there,” Hinojosa said. “This was an incident that spilled over from the community but we cannot absolve our responsibility because it happened on our watch on our property.”
Mobile Users: Click here to watch Dallas ISD's update on the shooting
Hinojosa said the district is making immediate security changes.
“Going forward, we will implement some very significant changes to our protocols,” he said. “Yes, we wanted kids to be involved and so we’re going to have to make some adjustments because of this crisis.”
For the rest of this week, people will no longer be able to bring any bags, purses or backpacks into Dallas ISD’s stadiums. Competitions will be de-centralized, and metal detection wands will be used at the doors. After this week, the district will return to its clear bag policy it began implementing last September.
DISD Police say nine officers were at Saturday’s game, but no metal detection was used.
“We did not have metal detectors at the building. They were at the football field,” said Dallas ISD Police Chief John Lawton.
Hinojosa says metal detectors will continue to be used at football games, but there simply aren't enough to cover every sporting event. Spectators will now be wanded with a metal detection device before entering other games.
“We are collecting all of the metal wands that we have so that we will have them available,” Hinojosa said. “And as I described, Conrad, Adamson, Hillcrest, they play home games. So we have to deploy the resources that we have in the most efficient way because we have multiple games this week.”
Hinojosa repeatedly called Saturday’s shooting and rising community violence a crisis. And until police get a handle on it, he says there will be increased security measures.
“We are always worried about overtime,” he said. “Right now, we are not worried about overtime.”
The superintendent also says the district will form a task force to work with Dallas police to address gun and gang violence. He says safety and security are high priorities in this year's bond program.
Coach James Mays was on the court with his team when the shooting happened. He supports the increased security measures.
“Never have experienced that in my life in 75216, and I have been at this a long time. It was unbelievable. It was shocking,” he said. “If it takes metal detectors, if it takes wands, if it takes checking bags… At the end of the day, we want our kids safe and in safe environment.”
Saturday’s high-stakes game between the two Top 20 teams was completed Monday afternoon at a neutral site that was closed to the public. DISD limited the crowd allowed to watch the teams finish the game to mostly just close family of the players and those that have been vetted.
Some of the parents who were at Saturday night's game say they agree with the security change.
“We need it. We want to be secure,” said parent Kerrie Owens. “We want our sons and daughters, our children to be safe.”
“We need to, as a community, support our kids more and stop just talking about it,” said Tim Jackson with Real Youth Mentors. “Let’s show up instead of being on social media when things happen.”
Coach Mays says he talks to his players about life outside of basketball daily.
“I want them whole,” he said. “I want them mentally strong when they leave this program.”
Mays says coaches, teachers and administrators are doing their part. Now, it’s time for more people in the community to do theirs as well.
The district is also providing counselors for all the players and students affected by the shooting.