“We’re going to work this until this is resolved,” Wichita Falls Police Chief Manuel Borrego said late Friday afternoon after two girls were shot in a normally quiet residential neighborhood in southwest Wichita Falls.
“We’ll be working some long hours on this,” the chief said.
The shooting happened about 3:30 p.m. in the alley behind the 5100 block of Kingston Drive.
The names of the girls were not immediately released by police. Although word quickly spread in the neighborhood and on social media that one of the girls had died at the scene, police did not immediately confirm that.
Borrego confirmed they were young girls and witness reports said they appeared to be of junior high school age.
“It’s very tragic and heartbreaking that this involved two young people,” Borrego said.
Wichita Falls Independent School District Superintendent Michael Kuhrt later confirmed the two girls shot were students at McNiel Middle School. Kuhrt said one of the victims died, while the other is in guarded condition.
“Please know that the district is coordinating efforts to provide grief counselors for students,” Kuhrt said in his statement. “As soon as we have more information about those resources, we will pass that along to you.
“As a district, we are saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved.”
WFISD posted Kuhrt’s statement on their website.
The suspect was described as a white male, possibly between the ages of 16 and 18 with shaggy brown hair, possibly driving a black pickup. Witness reports indicated he was armed with a rifle.
About 5 p.m. shots rang out again in the area, apparently coming from nearby Tower Drive.
Police rushed from the shooting scene to where the shots were reported, and two people were detained after searching a residence in the 5100 block of Tower. It was not immediately clear whether either of those individuals was suspected in the shooting of the girls.
Department of Public Safety Troopers, as well as officials from the Wichita County District Attorney’s Office and Texas Game Wardens joined WFPD in the vicinity of Tower and Trinidad. Officials said no one appeared to be injured in that incident.
Wichita Falls Police asked that anyone who might have surveillance video related to the incident to please contact the police department. Those people can remain anonymous.
A Wichita Falls ISD spokesperson said security was tightened for the Rider-Lubbock Coronado football game, played in nearby Memorial Stadium Friday night.
An anonymous donor came forward and matched Crime Stoppers initial reward of $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of the shooting suspect, jumping the total to $5,000. Crime Stoppers can be reached at 1-800-322-9888, or 322-9888 locally.
This story will be updated as we get more information.