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3 people shot at high school graduation ceremony
Photo by Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

3 people shot at high school graduation ceremony

At least three people were shot during a high school graduation ceremony at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Tuesday afternoon.

What are the details?

According to reports, gunfire broke out in the parking lot as two women began fighting.

One elderly woman was struck and killed. Two other victims, both male, were also hit but are expected to recover.

One witness told WDSU-TV that it was his friend's grandmother who lost her life following the ceremony.

"She got shot right there in the street like she was a dog or some s***, man," the witness said, recalling at least two dozen shots ringing out as panicked graduates and their families fled from the source of the shooting. Another witness added, "We just heard gunshots. They were fighting. My cousin said, 'They're fighting over there, let's go.' Then I heard gunshots."

New Orleans Police Department Deputy Superintendent Christopher Goodly condemned the shooting as a "senseless act of violence."

"This did not have to happen," Goodly added. "We had a good amount of security here — interior coverage and exterior coverage. Xavier Police were on the scene along with Second District Police."

Three suspects were detained in the shooting, but no arrests have been made at the time of this reporting.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

What else is there to know about this?

New Orleans Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr. expressed his anguish in a statement.

"I am outraged and saddened by the callousness shown today outside Xavier University. The graduating seniors of Morris Jeff were there to share in their collective achievements and bask in the brightness of their futures – only to have their optimism ripped apart by gun violence," Lewis said. "This has got to stop. We must come together as a community, as a country, and address the damage caused by access to guns and to get to the root of the anger and despair that compels individuals to even think of harming others. All our children have a right to be safe and we must do all we can in our power to protect that right. My heart breaks for the families of the victims, and I implore us all to rally around them in their time of need.”

Morris Jeff Head of School Patricia Perkins added, "This is a horrific tragedy on what should be a day of celebration for our seniors, but Morris Jeff is a strong school community and we will unite to help each other heal. Every day, we teach our children to solve their differences with their words and to be compassionate toward each other. Our graduates will make a difference in this world because they learn to see each other as equal human beings. This resolve is only stronger after today’s violence.”

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