An 18-year-old student was fatally shot on the outskirts of Canyon Springs High School Tuesday afternoon, prompting an extensive response from law enforcement who initially thought they were dealing with an active shooter, according to North Las Vegas Police.
A preliminary investigation indicates an altercation occurred between the victim and an unknown person before the shooting, police said. The shooter fled before officers arrived, police said. The victim was taken to University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Detectives are still investigating a motive for the shooting but believe it was not a random act of violence, police said.
There was no active threat to staff or students, said Acting Police Chief Justin Roberts, adding that a firearm was recovered at the scene.
Callers began flooding 911 dispatch with reports of a shooting on campus, Roberts said. Police initially believe there were multiple shooters and at least three victims, but those reports were quickly disproven, he added.
The shooting took place in the outer perimeter of the baseball fields located in the northwest part of campus, 350 E. Alexander Road, near Fifth Street, Roberts said.
Gunshots erupted at 2:39 p.m., shortly after school had been dismissed, Roberts said. There were less than 500 students — mostly magnet students and athletes — out of the 2,700 enrolled, still on property, and they were momentarily placed on lockdown, Roberts said.
Officers swept hallways and classrooms to confirm there were no other victims. Students by 4:45 p.m. were flowing out of the school.
Albeit “sadly,” police were dispatched to a school because of a shooting, “The response was exactly how it should be,” Roberts said.
Information on the possible suspect, or motive, hadn’t been released as of Tuesday evening.
“Staff members followed their training and kept students calm until the lockdown was lifted,” said Jesus Jara, Clark County School District superintendent, in a news release. He called the shooting a “targeted act of violence.”
Jara thanked school police on campus and the responding agencies. An increased presence of city police and CCSD officers was expected Wednesday, when school will remain in session, he said.
Counselors would be made available to students and staff, Jara said.
North Las Vegas officers and firefighters, Clark County School District Police, Metro Police and county firefighters descended on the scene, Roberts said.
A noticeable police presence remained on campus Tuesday evening as the investigation continued.
In November 2015, an after-school shooting near Mohave High School killed a student, 16-year-old Taylor Brantley, during a street-corner brawl that police said involved more than 40 people. Police said at the time it was not clear if Brantley had been involved in the fight.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.