2 suspects arrested in shooting of students outside Graham-Kapowsin High School; 1 still sought

GRAHAM, Wash. – Deputies have arrested two suspects in connection with the shooting of two 16-year-old male students outside Graham-Kapowsin High School on Tuesday. A green Chevrolet Impala was also impounded for evidence.

Photos of another suspect being sought was released by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. Deputies said the outstanding suspect is the one in the photos wearing a purple shirt.

Detectives released the following update Wednesday afternoon:

"Yesterday evening deputies contacted a teenage male student from GKHS at his residence in Spanaway; the deputies were following up on leads from multiple witnesses who reported that the male was involved in the fight that lead up to the shooting, and he had reportedly fled in a green Chevrolet Impala with the other suspects. The 17 year old male suspect was arrested and booked into Remann Hall for Drive By Shooting and two counts of Assault in the 1st degree.

"The green Chevrolet Impala used by the suspects to flee the crime scene was located late last night by Tacoma Police officers outside a residence in the City of Tacoma. PCSD detectives responded to the scene and arrested a teenage male, who is believed to the be the suspect in the white t-shirt; he is believed to be a student at Clover Park High School in Lakewood. The 17 year old male suspect was arrested and booked into Remann Hall for Drive By Shooting and two counts of Assault in the 1st degree. The vehicle was impounded for a search warrant.

"The third suspect (seen in gray and blue hooded jacket) has not been identified. He is believed to be the shooter and should be considered armed and dangerous. Detectives are asking for your help in identifying who this suspect is. If you have any information please contact our department or leave a tip with Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County 1-800-222-TIPS."

In the shooting earlier, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said one student was found in the parking lot by the high school football field and another was found in a locker room. Shots were reportedly fired on the Eustis Hunt Rd. side of the campus.

The two wounded students were rushed to Tacoma General Hospital, where they were listed in serious condition Tuesday night. Sheriff's detective Ed Troyer said the boys were expected to survive.

The sheriff’s office said the suspects were described as multiple black males, and that they fled in a green vehicle, possibly a Chevy Impala. Deputies were actively sweeping the school grounds, but said there was no indication the suspects were on campus.

Deputies said the shooting might be gang-related.

Graham-Kapowsin High, Nelson Elementary and Frontier Middle School were all placed in in lockdown in the immediate aftermath, and Eatonville School District was placed in temporary modified lockdown as a precaution because of proximity to the high school. Students at Graham Elementary were released to their bus with staff supervision, and all after-school activities at the Graham-Kapowsin High School and Frontier were cancelled.

On Tuesday night, the Bethel School District sent the following letter to all parents:

"Dear Parents,

"At approximately 2:30 p.m. today, 30 minutes after school was dismissed, there was a shooting near the Graham-Kapowsin High School campus.  The shooting stemmed from an altercation between a group of individuals outside of the school.  Two students who were injured in the shooting made their way onto the Graham-Kapowsin campus for help. 

"Graham-Kapowsin High School, Frontier Middle School, Graham Elementary School, and Nelson Elementary School were immediately placed in lockdown while Pierce County Deputies searched for the shooters.  As a precaution and a part of the investigation, deputies searched the entire campus as well as inside Graham-Kapowsin High School.  

"At 3 p.m., Graham Elementary was taken off of lockdown and students were released according to normal end-of-the-day dismissal procedures.  The Pierce County Sheriff's Department directed the district to remain in lockdown at Graham-Kapowsin High School, Frontier Middle School, and Nelson Elementary until they were able to secure the area.  Once the area was secured, and schools were taken out of lockdown by the sheriff’s department, parents were allowed access to the three schools to pick up their students and buses were dispatched to take remaining students home.

"School at all three sites will follow a normal schedule tomorrow, Wednesday, December 6.  Please remember that tomorrow is a scheduled late start in the district.  

"Graham-Kapowsin High School will have extra security on hand tomorrow, as well as additional counselors. Students who left bags in classrooms will be allowed to collect them at the beginning of first period.

"We wish to thank the Pierce County Sheriff's Department for their quick response and continued investigation of this very serious incident, and to parents for their patience. Our primary concern is always for the safety of our students and staff."