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3 teens shot in Hinkley High School parking lot; suspects arrested

When a fight escalated into gunshots, a school security officer returned fire and applied a tourniquet to one of the injured, police said.

AURORA, Colo. — The Aurora Police Department (APD) said three suspects have been arrested in connection to a shooting in the Hinkley High School parking lot that left three teenagers injured Friday.

APD said in a release that dispatchers began taking 911 calls about a shooting at Hinkley High School just after noon Friday. An APD school resource officer and an Aurora Public Schools (APS) security officer were already there and were the first to respond, according to police.

Officers found a teenager in the parking lot who had been shot, police said, and they were taken to the hospital. The other two teenagers who were shot got themselves to hospitals soon after that, according to APD. Chief Vanessa Wilson said in a media briefing that their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Police said Friday that they had arrested a 16-year-old boy on an attempted murder charge in connection to the shooting. Two additional 16-year-old boys were arrested on attempted murder charges on Sunday, police said. One of the suspects was arrested in Aurora, and the other in Parker. 

Police said they believe there are others involved, and they are actively working to identify those people.

Police said the suspect arrested Friday was not injured in the shooting. It's not clear if either of the other two suspects were among those injured.

Police said it appears the shooting was gang-related. They said the shooting was not connected to the shooting near Aurora Central High School Monday that left six students injured.

APD said the three who were shot were a 16-year-old male student at APS Avenues, as well as a 17-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy who both go to Hinkley High School.

APD said their preliminary information is that there was a fight in the parking lot during the school lunch break. Shortly after that fight, a white pickup truck with several people in it drove through the parking lot and people in it began firing shots, according to police.

The APS security officer fired his weapon, police said, but it's not known if anyone was hit. APD said after he fired his weapon, he applied a tourniquet to the injured student in the parking lot.

"I do want to applaud his actions," Wilson said. "He did a great job here today."

Police said they found numerous shell casings of different calibers at the scene, and they're still working to determine exactly how the people who were shot were involved.

Detectives will be reviewing video surveillance from the school, APD said, as well as video published on social media. Police said they were also talking to witnesses and examining physical evidence at the scene to help them identify anyone who was involved.

Wilson said she was on her way to a peace rally related to Monday's shooting when she was informed about the Hinkley shooting.

She asked for parents' help in stopping the violence.

"I need you checking phones," she said. "I need you checking rooms. I need you checking cars and make sure they're taking these guns away from these kids."

When asked how she felt about the shootings this week, she said, "I’m angry. People know what happened here. We need to talk to our kids. These beefs cannot continue."

She said anyone who has information or video of the shooting can give it to Aurora Police or to Metro Denver Crime Stoppers.

APS did a phased release of Hinkley students at 2 p.m. Friday. APS said that all after-school sports and activities were canceled. The school is located at Chambers Road south of East 13th Avenue.

Threats were also circulating on social media on Friday against Gateway High School and Rangeview High School, and APD officers responded to both schools, Wilson said.

The high school was on lockdown after the shooting, police said.

RELATED: Police find 1 of 2 suspect vehicles in Aurora shooting that injured 6 students

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman spoke to 9NEWS after the shooting Friday and said, "The most important function of government is the protection of its people, and that's what we're going to do. We need to engage all of our stakeholders...to attack this problem."

He said he spoke with Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday about how the state can help and about state statutes that affect young people. He said that government leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement and parents need to work together on issues of youth violence.

Polis said earlier at a news conference that the shooting victims were in his thoughts and prayers.

"As a state, we need to redouble our efforts to reduce youth violence and improve public safety," he said. "In particular with the two shootings in Aurora, we are going to have renewed focus on reducing youth violence."

In a letter to the APS community, Superintendent Rico Munn said, "there are no words to accurately convey all of the hurt, anger, sadness and worry that we are feeling. I ask you to channel these emotions into helping our community heal and get stronger," he wrote. "Let us work together to make our community safer, better and more hopeful for our future." He said there would be additional security and mental health supports at schools as needed after the Thanksgiving break.

Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly released a statement:

“This week’s violence near our schools is heartbreaking, and I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish experienced by the victims and their families. In addition, teachers and students at our schools are impacted by this outbreak of violence.  Our community is still reeling from the shooting of six teenagers on Monday, and we find ourselves facing yet another senseless act of violence. It is the responsibility of all community members and stakeholders to invest in the safety of our youth. We must commit our time and resources to the city’s Youth Violence Prevention Program and our public safety partners to identify ways for increased involvement and better solutions. We will work collaboratively with our community partners to identify solutions and rally the support of our residents.”

On Monday, six students were shot just a couple miles away at Nome Park near Aurora Central High School.

Five of the teens were taken to area hospitals and one took himself to a hospital. All are expected to survive.

All of the victims were students at Aurora Central. Their names were not being released, but police identified them as a 14-year-old boy, a 15-year-old girl, a 16-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl, a 17-year-old boy, and an 18-year-old man.

"I need us all to be outraged by what happened here today," Wilson said on Monday, while asking for the public's help locating the suspects involved.

Wilson asked residents with photos, videos or information to come forward so they can find the suspects involved. She said the shooting may have been a drive-by and there may have been suspects on foot.

The chief said multiple calibers of weapons were used in the shooting.

Henry Martinez, who lives across the street from the park, said he heard at least 30 gunshots.

"I'm a little shook about this," Martinez said. "It's scary hearing that many gunshots going off right in front of your house."

The first responders on scene were school resource officers who Wilson said provided lifesaving measures. The police department said responding officers applied tourniquets to at least two victims.

Police said Tuesday they had identified two suspect vehicles in connection with the shooting.

One vehicle was described as a black Chevrolet Tahoe with chrome door handles and a roof rack.

Police said Wednesday that they found the Tahoe parked in a residential neighborhood in the area of Kalispell Way and Alameda Parkway. Officers executed a search warrant at a nearby house, according to police. No arrests have been made.

The other vehicle was described as a black Chrysler 300 with dark tint and chrome wheels.

RELATED: Shooting stokes worries of teen violence

RELATED: Community groups, city agencies visit Aurora schools after 6 teens shot at park

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