State Watch

Six teens transported to hospital after shooting in Aurora, Colo.

Six teenagers were transported to the hospital after shots were fired at a park in Aurora, Colo., on Monday in what was believed to be a drive-by shooting, according to authorities.

Aurora Police Department Chief Vanessa Wilson, during a news conference Monday afternoon, said the victims, who range in age from 14 to 18, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, but noted that one child is in emergency surgery.

Multiple people were shot, according to authorities. Wilson said multiple rounds and different calibers have been recovered.

The six victims were students at Aurora Central High School, according to a statement from Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn and Board of Education President Kyla Armstrong-Romero. The park where the shooting took place is located near the school.

Wilson said it is her understanding that the incident was a drive-by shooting, but noted that there may have been people on foot as well.

The suspects remain at large, according to Wilson. She pleaded with the public to help gather information and report tips, particularly footage from Ring doorbell cameras, that can help authorities understand “who exactly we’re looking for.”

She said as of the current moment authorities believe there were multiple suspects, based on calls from neighbors who reported a number of individuals they believed to be suspicious. She did not, however, provide a specific number.

She also said people described several vehicles as suspicious, but authorities are not releasing information on them until more information is known.

Aurora Central High School, which is located just south of Nome Park, where the shooting took place, was placed on lockdown, according to authorities.

An Aurora Police Department public information officer revealed at the news conference that the incident occurred at Nome Park at around 12:45 p.m. local time.

Wilson said school resources officers were the first individuals to arrive on the scene, where they “applied-life saving measures in form of a tourniquet” for the victim who is now in surgery.

Wilson said the Major Crimes Unit is leading the investigation, but noted that personnel from their gang unit and Denver gangs are assisting with the probe.

Asked if authorities believe the incident was a form of gang violence and if the victims were targeted Wilson said it is still early in the investigation, but added that they are not going to “leave any rock uncovered, so we’re gonna look at all different angles.”

She also said she has been in contact with the Aurora Public Schools superintendent, and that to her understanding, the victims and their families are being very cooperative.

The Aurora Police Department first tweeted an alert about a shooting at the park just before 3 p.m.

Munn and Armstrong-Romero of Aurora Public Schools said additional mental health professionals will be at Aurora Central on Tuesday for students and staff as needed. There will also be an increased police presence at and around the school.

“We are disgusted by this and other senseless acts of violence against our children who are the future of our community. We ask for your continued support of the Aurora Central community and we ask each of you to be a proactive part of keeping all of our children safe,” Munn and Armstrong-Romero said in a statement.

Authorities initially said five teenagers had been transported to the hospital. The police department later revealed that a sixth victim, who was 18 years old, had gone to the hospital on their own with minor injuries.

Wilson, during Monday’s news conference, said the country is seeing a “public health crisis” when it comes to gun violence, and implored individuals to come together and find a solution to the growing issue.

“I think we need to come together as a community. This is a public health crisis. This is not all on law enforcement. We need to get through to our kids and figure out a way to stop this,” Wilson said.

Pressed on if there is a violence crisis in Aurora, Wilson said “there’s a violence crisis across the nation right now, and so I think we all need to pay attention.”

She said her “heart dropped” when she received the call of the incident, and commended first responders for their action.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them. They saved a life today, and I want to applaud the men and women that showed up here today,” she said of the first responders.

Updated at 8:30 p.m.

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