5 shot in Maryland park during ‘senior skip day’ gathering: ‘It’s maddening’

GREENBELT, Md. (WDCW) – Five teens were injured in a shooting in Greenbelt, Maryland, during “senior skip day” festivities for local high school students, police said.

Three of the victims had serious injuries and the two others were critically hurt, fire officials said. One remained in critical condition as of Saturday.

The victims were all between the ages of 16 and 18.

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Greenbelt Mayor Emmett V. Jordan confirmed the students had gathered at Schrom Hills Park for the skip-day event. Chief Richard Bowers of the Greenbelt Police estimated there were approximately 500 to 600 students at the gathering.

Bowers said around 20 officers had been dispatched to control crowds at the park prior to the shooting. At around 3 p.m., police heard gunshots and went toward the pavilion area, where they found the five injured people.

The students quickly began to disperse. Police believe the person or persons who opened fire left the park in the midst of the commotion.

“It’s maddening, honestly and there’s not enough words to say for the condolences to the individuals that were there, to their classmates, the school, to our community,” Bowers said. “This isn’t just going to be something that affects a small group of people. This affects not only the city of Greenbelt, but our entire county, our entire state.”

(Mariel Carbone/DC News Now)
(Mariel Carbone/DC News Now)
(Mariel Carbone/DC News Now)
(Mariel Carbone/DC News Now)

Police were initially unaware of plans for Friday’s senior skip day, which also took place last year with no issues. Greenbelt City Manager Josué Salmerón said town officials will be more vigilant in the future.

“Moving forward, we’re going to be diligent about these on scheduled activities that are happening in our community. We’re going to play a greater role in tracking and reporting these incidents,” Salmerón said.

Bowers says he hopes students will come forward with any information they may have about the shooting.

“We know that the person involved is definitely on a camera somewhere,” Bowers said. “Like I said, there was about 20 police officers. So we have a lot of body worn camera footage.”

Neighbors who live near the park found the shooting distressing.

“I was just sitting in the house and heard a lot of shots and then I heard a lot of sirens,” Mike Kabia, who lives across the street, said. “It’s sad, I had to come out here and just start praying.”

He believes there needs to be more local activities for the kids, to keep them safe and occupied.

“Senior skip day, they come out here and this is the result and it’s sad,” he said. “We’ve got to get back to a village of people that it takes to raise kids. We’ve got to get back to the programs for the youth. The youth have nothing to do and it’s sad.”

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“You just don’t know anymore, what brings it on. That’s the scary part,” said Michael McCallum about the latest round of gun violence.

McCallum also believes parents need to have some serious conversations with their teens.

“Maybe better parental guidance with your children to teach them just to stay away from [guns]. Look what’s going on as the time goes on with the children. Your friends in school are getting killed and you’re going to more and more funerals with your friends. You want to stop this,” he said.

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