ALPINE, Texas -- A fourteen-year-old freshman girl has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after shooting and injuring another female student at a high school in the West Texas town of Alpine, the Brewster County sheriff said. The incident began shortly before 9 a.m. at Alpine High School in Texas’ Big Bend region.
“The shooter appears to have shot herself,” Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson told radio station KVLF.
Dodson told CBS affiliate KOSA the shooting happened while both girls were in the band hall bathroom. The bullet reportedly hit the victim’s lower backside. Dodson said the injured student ran outside seeking help and was taken to a hospital with injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening.
A nearby deputy entered the school, where he found the shooter dead and recovered her weapon, the station reports. The school does not have a resource officer on campus.
KOSA reports the alleged shooter’s grandfather told Dodson she had moved to the area six months before, was new to the school and was a straight-A student.
“We don’t know what would provoke this,” the grandfather told Dodson.
Dodson told the station the alleged shooter was armed with a semi-automatic pistol and had “plenty of ammunition.” Neither the shooter nor the victim have yet been identified.
All schools in the district were placed on lockdown, police told Crimesider. Authorities did not immediately release a possible motive for the gunfire.
A federal officer was also wounded as officials cleared the school when another federal officer fired his weapon, KOSA reports. Though the shot was believed to be accidental, the shooting is under investigation. The wounded officer is in stable condition.
Dodson said the shooting at the high school was part of a chaotic series of events that included a bomb threat called in at nearby Sul Ross State University, which required law enforcement personnel to rush there from the high school. A man was believed to have called in multiple bomb threats around the area, including at Sul Ross, spreading law enforcement thin.
Dodson told Marfa Public Radio that someone called the sheriff’s office and said “Y’all better leave me alone,” and made threats against Sul Ross State University.
A note was later found that read “If you thought what happened at the school was bad, wait to see what happened at Sul Ross,” the station reports.
“That’s ridiculous for someone to call in something like this when we’ve got this situation going on,” Dodson said. “This community does not expect this, we don’t want this, and we can’t explain it yet.”
Police say they don’t believe the threats to be related to the shooting. Whoever is responsible could face federal charges.
Alpine is in southwest Texas, around 50 miles from the Mexican border and about 250 miles southeast of El Paso. The Alpine Independent School District website says the town of about 5,900 residents has three schools - elementary, middle and a high school.