Police: Gunfire outside high school gang-related, not random

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by Tami Hoey

Video report by Mike Watkiss

Posted on February 3, 2014 at 10:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 5 at 2:35 PM

Map: Shots fired outside Cesar Chavez High

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PHOENIX -- Police now say shots fired outside a basketball game at Cesar Chavez High School Friday night were gang-related and not random.

Police originally believed the shots were just fired into the air, but now believe the suspects may  have been shooting at each other.

"We believe there possibly may have been two individuals with weapons that evening, maybe shooting at each other," said Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos.

The high school near 43rd Avenue and Baseline Road was hosting a varsity basketball game against rival Fairfax High when gunfire erupted outside just after 8 p.m.

Phoenix police officers already on scene providing routine security for the game tried to keep everyone calm, witnesses said.

But panic ensued and people began rushing out of the packed gym. Police say no one was injured by actual gunfire, but several students were reportedly hurt during the stampede. One girl reportedly suffered a seizure. Two other girls were said to have suffered asthma attacks.

"I was just scared for my life," said student Donteya McDaniels. "I've never felt fear like that, ever, in my life."

Martos said police detained two people Friday night for questioning, but no arrests have been made.
 
Students said there had been threats over social media during the week leading up to the game.

It was back to class Monday for students at the school.

"Our attendance was actually higher this Monday than last Monday," said district spokesman Craig Pletenik. "It's a regular day at the school."

But many parents remain shaken by the incident.

"It's very concerning, that is for sure," one dad said.

A community meeting has been slated for Wednesday evening to address the incident. Meantime, district officials say they are already considering steps to increase safety, including closing down one entrance to campus when events are held.

"We have got to do a better job, and are planning on doing a better job, of controlling entry points and controlling who comes in," says Pletenik.

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