GFPD investigating shooting of high school student; middle school suspect in custody

Updated at 3:25 p.m.

The Great Falls Police Department is investigating the shooting of a teenager who was walking to school.

Around 7:50 a.m. on Feb. 21, a 15-year-old male was shot while walking on the 1600 block of Valeria Way.

“The incident was not random and results from ongoing disagreements. This by no means excuses this behavior, even on-going disagreements should never result in violence,” according to a release from GFPD and Great Falls Public Schools.

The victim was walking to Great Falls High, according to GFPD.

Two suspects were identified who fled by foot. The suspects were identified by witnesses on the scene, according to GFPD.

According to police, people in the area heard gunshots and then heard the victim yelling that he’d been shot.

Police were told the suspects fled the area going south and away from the school, but out of caution, the SRO at GFH was notified and both GFH and Longfellow Elementary were put into shelter-in-place.

The student was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Around 8:14 a.m. the first suspect, a 16-year-old male was detained at a nearby residence. That teen had withdrawn from Great Falls Public Schools and is no longer a student, according to police and the school district.

About 20 minutes later, a 15-year-old male was detained at a separate residence.

The investigation revealed neither of those students were responsible for the shooting.

A third suspect was placed in custody at the residence as the 16-year-old who’d already been detained.

The suspect is a 14-year-old East Middle School student who is currently a homebound student, according to GFPD and GFPS.

He has been charged with assault with a weapon and the investigation is ongoing, according to police.

Homebound students received educational services online and are not allowed on school property, according to GFPS.

The suspect firearm was located and is in police custody.

Since all involved are minors, GFPD said it is not releasing names at this time.

The victim was out of surgery and in stable condition by the afternoon, according to the release.

“Obviously, this incident could have had much more tragic results,” according to the release. “GFPS and GFPD, through the SRO program, investigate threats to students on a continual basis. However, this is a team effort. Parents and guardians, please talk to your children about communicating any threatening behavior to a responsible adult.”