Saturday was a day of celebration for one high school but this quickly turned into a tragedy for the small city in Alabama after gunfire rocked the graduation party. As of 2 a.m. on May 18, one person died and eight others were injured at a community center in Atmore, close to the Florida border. Witnesses said that there was a fight which broke out between two women during the graduation party for Escambia County High School's seniors.
CNN reported that according to the authorities, gunshots started ringing inside the community center and hit several people as witnesses were trying to separate the fighting women. Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks told the outlet that officers responded to a 911 call for shots fired at around 2 a.m. on Saturday.
Brooks said that after the deputies got to the scene of the shooting, shots were reportedly still being fired inside the community center. The authorities found one man dead inside the cafeteria. The shooting took place at a former middle school which has been transformed into a community center.
The authorities said that the eight wounded people were immediately taken to a local hospital to receive treatment. Brooks said that the suspects in the shooting fled from the scene and are still at large.
Dennis Fuqua, the high school's principal, said in a statement on Saturday that the community "felt the pangs of tragedy due to the acts of violence that have left several of our past and present students injured". The statement continued: "It is unfortunate that the event at the community center has tainted the success our seniors and football team felt, but we love our Blue Devil Family and will continue to pray for wisdom and healing."
According to the statement, the high school seniors were celebrating being awarded $8.6 million in scholarships and the varsity football team was celebrating their first win of the season.
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