An innocent bystander heading home from her last day of school has been shot.
A freshman student at Riverview Gardens High School is undergoing surgery tonight after being caught in a gun battle. It happened at the intersection of Shepley and Hobkirk roads in North St. Louis County. That's just a block of east of the school.
School let out early today after finals. As many as 50 to 60 students were walking home together when several gunshots rang out between two cars. One bullet hit their friend in the chest. She's in serious, but stable condition this evening. The police chief visited with the girl's family this afternoon while officers search for the multiple suspects wanted for the crime.
Less than half an hour after school let out for the summer --
"They just came over in a car and started shooting a lot of times, and everybody just started running," Tyrin Williams, witness and friend of the victim, says.
Students scattered as bullet casings littered the ground.
Crime scene tape blocks Dan's driveway. He saw the whole thing unfold as two cars chased each other down the length of his street. He doesn't want to show his face until the suspects are caught.
"They were all screaming down there at the corner like they were going to get in a fight," Dan says.
Neighbors say the driver of a stolen van then smashed into the car, and words quickly turned to weapons.
"I mean one gunshot after another," Dan says. "I ran. I ducked around the corner of the house. Because the car was backing up as he was shooting, I didn't want to get hit by a stray bullet."
But at least one stray bullet soared down the street, striking a student on her way home from school.
"It's sad you know, because most schools getting out are happy' let's have summer," Alexis Polke, witness and friend of the victim, says.
Friends say the victim is a joy to be around and that they hope for a quick recovery.
"She was on the freshman cheerleading team," Polke says. "She was also on the basketball team -- she's a nice girl."
"We were scared, but they said she is going to be OK," Williams says. "So I hope she's OK."
Witnesses tell News-4 that the suspects are all in their late teens. The students didn't recognize any of them from school.
Tonight, police are still searching for everyone involved. They're not certain how many people that may be. The suspects in the van took off on foot. A car-load of people fled the scene in a black car with serious front end damage.