FREDERICK, Md. (WJLA/AP) - The shooting that wounded two students outside a high school basketball game in Frederick was not a random act, law enforcement sources told ABC7 News on Thursday, and it's believed that the victims and the shooter know each other.
Authorities identified the victims in Wednesday night's shooting at Frederick High School as two freshman boys, ages 14 and 15, who attend nearby Gov. Thomas Johnson High School.
According to the sources, both boys called themselves members of a gang known as the "PA Mob." The "PA Mob" is known to be involved in a dispute with a rival gang known as "CA," which is short for the Carver Apartments.
On Thursday afternoon, more than a dozen police cadets combed the grounds of Frederick High, eyes trained on the frozen ground for signs of a getaway path possibly used by the shooter, who is believed to have fled on foot. No arrests had been made.
Police obtained school surveillance video and planned to re-interview the victims, Frederick police Capt. Richard Hetherington said.
Family members of the victims told ABC7 News that the boys were expected to recover; one was shot in the leg and the other in the torso. The two remained Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where they were flown after being shot.
Frederick High was closed Thursday, but some basketball players and their parents returned to retrieve street clothing the athletes left behind. One mother, who would give only her first name, Talia, said she didn't think school security was too lax. Another, who declined to give her name for fear of putting her family at risk, said the shooting made her feel the school was unsafe.
Meanwhile at Gov. Thomas Johnson High, police responded to fear of additional violence by beefing up patrols Thursday both inside and outside. Students there described the mood as tense.
Frederick, with about 68,000 residents, is a rapidly growing city about 40 miles west of both Baltimore and Washington.
Wednesday night's shooting sent spectators running for cover as frantic parents rushed to the scene to make sure their children were OK.
Two junior varsity basketball games were going on at the time of the shooting, Frederick County public schools spokesman Michael Doerrer said.
He said there were students from Frederick High, Gov. Thomas Johnson High and at least one other Frederick County high school on campus at the time of the shootings. He added that two, unarmed, private security guards were on duty during the game.
Superintendent Theresa Alban told a news conference that the number of security officers at athletic events depends on the anticipated size of the crowd and the perceived potential for trouble.
"Historically, JV basketball games have not been where we've seen incidents occur as often," she told reporters.
In a video posted online to the school district's YouTube channel, Alban said the shooting doesn't mean the schools are dangerous.
"We all know that there are issues, many times, that are out there in the community that sometimes spill into our schools, and that's exactly what happened yesterday," she said.
After the shooting about 8 p.m., officers took about 200 people who were at the game into the school cafeteria, secured the building and questioned witnesses, Hetherington said.
The students were released to their parents several hours later in the parking lot of a nearby bowling alley. There was excited chatter as parents hugged their children.
Frederick High School junior Sofia McCluskey said she was watching the game and heard a muffled shot. "Someone yelled, 'Yo, they're shooting,'" she said. "And we just ran as fast as we could."
She and her friend, Stephanie Sanchez, said they ran to the locker room and were taken to the cafeteria to be briefly interviewed by police.
Sanchez said it was a frightening experience. "I was, like, shaking the whole time. I still am," she said late Wednesday night.
DeJuan Jones, a sophomore, said he knew the boys who were shot.
"They was at my house a couple of days ago," he said. He said he believed the shooting was gang-related. "Everybody knows, everybody knows," he said.
Dana Wiles, 40, said her daughter, a Frederick High school sophomore, sent her a text message around 8:40 p.m. "She said she saw it happen," Wiles said. "She's not coming back to any more basketball games. I'm keeping her home with me."
Tanika Mayweather, whose 15-year-old son Lawrence was playing in the basketball game, said, she's not letting him play basketball for the school anymore.
"We'll have our basketball games out in the park," she said.
Frederick High School, on the city's west side, has about 1,300 students. In addition to it being closed Thursday, the district also cancelled classes for West Frederick Middle School students on Thursday. Both schools were set to reopen Friday.