(Updated) A 14-year-old aspiring lawyer was struck by a bullet Monday night as hundreds of people spilled out from a basketball game at Hillhouse High School.
The shooting took place just before 8 p.m., according to police spokesman Officer Dave Hartman.
About 2,000 people gathered Monday night at the Hillhouse Field House at 480 Sherman Parkway to see the Hillhouse Academics play the Career High School Panthers in boys’ basketball. As the crowds were leaving, just before 8 p.m., gunshots rang out right outside the field house, where the game was played, Hartman said.
Shortly after the gunfire, cops found a shooting victim, a 14-year-old Hillhouse freshman, a block away at Dixwell Avenue at Munson Street. He was suffering from a gunshot wound to his hand and a graze gunshot wound to his leg. He was taken by ambulance to Yale-New Haven Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Hillhouse Principal Kermit Carolina, who visited the boy at the hospital Monday night, said the student is a “nice kid” who has never been in trouble.
The boy, who lives in Westville, is “very respectful. He has clear plans for his future. He wants to be a lawyer,” Carolina said.
He said at the time of the shooting, the boy was walking away from the Field House, up Munson Street, with some older teens who do not attend Hillhouse.
The boy appears to have been in the “wrong place” at the “wrong time,” he said.
“We don’t know who they were shooting at, or why,” Carolina said. “I think it was a random activity. Someone took advantage of a night activity and chose to shoot at a group of boys.”
Police have no suspect in the crime nor any “path of flight” to report, Hartman said.
“As the shots were heard, many in the crowd began to scatter,” Hartman said.
Moments before they found the gunshot victim, cops found “a small group” of people “running from the scene,” Hartman said. Cops arrested two adults and seized a discarded handgun, which they found nearby. Cops are investigating whether those two arrestees may be connected to the shooting; so far they have not been charged with any weapon-related crime, Hartman said.
The basketball game itself was “orderly on the court and in the stands,” said schools spokeswoman Abbe Smith.
“Students and families left the game very happy,” Carolina said. “They saw a great basketball game.” The game was close: Career won 61 to 58. Carolina said he left the game and was halfway home when Superintendent Garth Harries called him, “telling me that one of my kids had been shot.” He turned around and headed to the hospital. So did Harries.
Nine uniformed cops were assigned to work at the game Monday. Other cops rushed to the scene in response to the gunfire, Hartman said.
Police will beef up security at Hillhouse and other high schools Tuesday “out of an abundance of caution,” Smith said. The school district has canceled JV and freshmen basketball games scheduled for Tuesday at Hillhouse.
“No young person should have to fear for his safety inside or outside a high school sports game,” Harries said in a statement. “I am deeply saddened by this act of violence and pray for the victim’s full recovery. I do not accept and will not tolerate any act of violence against a member of school community. The safety of our students is my absolute utmost priority and we will work with police to investigate this incident and continue to take every measure possible to protect our students.”
Carolina said the boy was in good spirits at the hospital, where he was joined by his mother and sister. The boy asked his mom what he was going to do about his final exams, which are scheduled for later this week. Carolina said teachers would make sure he didn’t miss the tests.
“He’s determined to take his final exams,” Carolina said.
Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call detectives at 203-946-6304.