Murder-suicide leaves 2 teenage girls dead at Independence HSPosted: Updated:
Two teenage girls were shot dead at Independence High School in Glendale just before 8 a.m. on Friday, police confirmed in a news briefing.
"They were found next to each other and the weapon was beside them," Glendale Police Officer Tracey Breeden said.
Both 15-year-old girls suffered a single gunshot wound, Breeden said.
Officers located the students down near the cafeteria area under a covered patio on the southeast portion of campus.
The two teens had sustained single gunshot wounds and were declared deceased at the scene. A weapon was found near the two teens.
Both teens were positively identified. They are 10th grade students at the school.
The girls are Dorothy Dutiel and May Kieu. Police have not officially released their names, but several friends have identified them on social media and to our reporters at the school.
"We don't have any information what led to this," she said. Breeden noted officers were on the scene within two minutes of getting several 911 calls.
Although the investigation is not complete, investigators working the case say evidence found at the scene leads them to believe that one female took the life of the other female before taking her own life.
During the processing of the scene, a suicide note was located.
Information gathered by detectives reveal the two girls were very close friends, appearing to also be in a relationship.
Detectives do not have any persons of interest and do not believe there are any outstanding suspects.
The investigation has led detectives to believe this incident was a murder-suicide.
In addition, information obtained indicates gunshots were heard at the school Friday morning, but it is believed no students witnessed the shooting.
Breeden stressed the campus is secure. She said police were not looking for an active shooter.
"Children are safe and it's not a dangerous situation," Breeden said. She stressed it was an "isolated incident."
Breeden noted no one at the school had received any threats prior to the shooting.
An ambulance was seen leaving the area without activating its sirens or lights.
We are investigating a double shooting at Independance HS. The incident was isolated. The school and neighborhood are safe.— Glendale Police (@GlendaleAZPD) February 12, 2016
"We do have a school resource officer at this school and he responded as well," Breeden said.
Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said Friday morning's shooting hit close to home.
"I live close to here. My daughter attended the school," he said.
Weiers offered the city's condolences to the families.
"We were in front of the school and we heard two loud shots like someone was popping a bag or something," one of the students inside the school told her mom on a cell phone call.
Officers put up a large blue tarp outside the school cafeteria.
One student told our reporter on the phone that everyone was in class at the time of the gunfire. The school was placed on immediate lockdown.
Parents were notified that there had been a shooting.
"We sent out an automated dialer, email blast and then on social media," School Superintendent Brian Capistran said.
"After we communicated with parents, we mobilized our social workers in the district to provide support for our students and our faculty," Capistran said.
Many parents gathered outside the school.
"I'm looking for my son," one mother said.
Another anxious parent asked when these kinds of incidents will ever end.
"We send our kids to school thinking they're safe and this happens," she said.
At around 11:15 a.m., students were allowed to begin leaving the school.
Parents were asked to congregate at the Wal-Mart at 75th Avenue and Glendale.
Buses were made available there to pick up parents in groups to take them to the school, where they could meet their students.
But there was some confusion as parents tried to connect with their children.
The IHS campus is still on lockdown. The school is asking that parents stage at the WalMart at 75th Avenue/Glendale.— Glendale Police (@GlendaleAZPD) February 12, 2016
A crisis mobile team was dispatched to the Wal-Mart parking lot for those needing help and support.
The Crisis Response Network set up a dedicated 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-203-CARE (2273) for those impacted.
The Teen Lifeline at 602-248-8337 is another good resource.
Parents and nearby residents took to social media.
"I live just a block from there,” Chana Bowles said in a Facebook post. “Helicopter sounds are loud. Haven’t checked to see if there are cops outside but I’m sure there are. I’m staying inside with my doors locked until the shooter or shooters are caught. I sure hope the people that were shot are ok. Prayers to all involved."
Our hearts go out to everyone at Independence High School this morning. We are standing by for information.— Mayor Jerry Weiers (@MayorWeiers) February 12, 2016
Glendale Police Department victim assistance personnel are working to provide support at this time for the involved family members.
Glendale Police will provide assistance and support to Independence High School as they process and heal from this tragedy.
Additional officers will be on campus throughout the weekend and next week during school hours to provide support.
The school will also have counselors and support staff available to students and their families this weekend and next week during school hours.
"Your heart breaks to hear this happening. I can’t imagine being a parent, waiting to hear from your child,” Sara Cornell said in a post to our Facebook page.
During the lockdown, Capistran said students were told not to use their cell phones.
"The importance of not using phones in a situation like this typically is so there are not rumors on social media," he said.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued the following statement:
"As details of this morning’s tragic shooting continue to be released, our hearts remain with the students, educators and families of Independence High School and the entire Glendale community.
“I commend the police officers, first responders, school safety officials, teachers and school administrators for their swift response and diligent work to secure the area and protect the students at the school. The state of Arizona continues to watch the situation closely, and stands at the ready to offer any support the school or community need.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them, with everyone on scene and with the community during this difficult time.”
Our prayers are with the students, educators & families at Independence High School & all the first responders on the scene. #PatriotPride— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) February 12, 2016
Here is the full statement Mayor Weiers read at the press briefing:
“On behalf of the City of Glendale we are deeply saddened by the tragic death of two 15-year-old female students at Independence High School this morning. I have been on the scene and met with Superintendent Brian Capistran and the Glendale Police Department. Glendale Union High School School District is following their protocol and all of the students are safe.
"The Police Department informs us that this is not an active shooting incident. A weapon was found at the scene near the two students. The incident is under investigation.
My daughter went to Independence High School, so personally this tragedy hits close to home. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of these two girls. Independence High School is a safe school, and we trust the District and police department will provide the support and counseling services necessary when school resumes on Tuesday.”
Former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords sent her heartfelt condolences:
“It is heartbreaking that yet another senseless gun tragedy has visited one of our beloved state’s schools. Our schools are supposed to be a safe place, but far too often in our country they are the scene of gun violence and horror. While we still don’t know all the details, we know that the loss of young, innocent lives is both tragic - and unacceptable. Mark and I are praying for the Glendale community, the students at Independence High School, and the loved ones of those who were taken from them this morning.”
Traffic restrictions were lifted at around 2:30 p.m. for 75th Avenue which had been closed between Bethany Home Road and Glendale during the investigation.
Stand Strong Together Independence High - sending love & prayers to the victims, their families, students, parents & faculty #patriotpride— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) February 12, 2016
Staging area @ 75th and Glendale Parents to be taken to school for student pick up Students NOT released yet Campus remains on shut down— GlendaleUnionHSDaz (@GlendaleUnionAZ) February 12, 2016
In response to the Tragedy at Independence High School, our Tragedy Support Line is open 1-800-203- CARES(2273). https://t.co/lF6yBcJfjX— Crisis Network (@CrisisNetworkAZ) February 12, 2016
Join us in prayer for students, teachers, staff, families at Independence High School in Glendale, Arizona near Phoenix: #school shooting.— Moms in Prayer (@MomsInPrayer) February 12, 2016
Terrible news regarding Independence High School today. My thoughts and prayers are with them. Will continue to watch as story develops.— Sheriff Paul Babeu (@PaulBabeuAZ) February 12, 2016
Our thoughts are with the students, faculty, staff, and community of Independence High School this morning.— Chandler Basketball (@CHSWolvesHoops) February 12, 2016
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