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'Worst nightmare' | One student shot in parking lot at Thomas Jefferson HS in Dallas; investigation ongoing

One student was taken to the hospital with injuries that are not life-threatening.

DALLAS — A student at Dallas ISD's Thomas Jefferson High School was shot on campus a few minutes after dismissal Tuesday.

The shooting happened in a parking lot.

The student was shot in the arm and rushed by paramedics to a local hospital with injuries that are not life-threatening.

Police said the incident appeared to have stemmed from a fight between students. But during a news conference Wednesday morning, Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizalde confirmed the incident was isolated and there was no evidence of a fight. 

Elizalde said there were three students involved in the incident; two individuals were inside a vehicle when they pulled up near the victim and the shooting took place. 

Following the shooting, three Thomas Jefferson staff members immediately responded to the parking lot. 

During the news conference, Thomas Jefferson Principal Ben Jones said the band director called 911, the athletic trainer rendered aid to the victim and the athletic coordinator called district staff. 

“It pains me to know that our community, fell victim to this unimaginable incident,” said Jones.

Within minutes of the shots ringing out, students who were still inside the building went into lockdown, and students who were outside were escorted back into the building. 

Jones said at least 300 students were still on campus. 

Student Blake Johnson told WFAA he was told to run to the library. 

"I’m like, I can’t leave right now? And they’re like, No, go to the library. Go to the library!" he said.

Once police secured the scene, students were released.

Johnson said he "wasn't surprised" by what happened on his campus.

"School shootings are at this point average," he said. "You know, sooner or later, it’s gonna get nearby to you."

One concerned mother who was outside Thomas Jefferson as the scene unfolded said her daughter told her the school was in lockdown and nobody could go inside. 

"I'm nervous," the mother said. Her daughter wasn't answering her phone.

Thomas Jefferson High School and Walnut Hill International Academy, which is right next to the high school, canceled classes on Wednesday, March 22. 

Elizalde said the Dallas ISD Police Department is leading the investigation into the shooting and a suspect has been identified. But she said no further information will be released until the investigation is over. 

"Not just as a superintendent, but as a mom, this is your absolute worst nightmare," said Elizalde. 

Police said they were reviewing surveillance camera footage from the nearby Walnut Hill Academy campus, which is on the other side of the parking lot where the shooting took place. 

Elizalde and Jones thanked the Thomas Jefferson staff, students and community for their response and support during this time. 

Elizalde said there will be meetings to address solutions for making both the campus and parking lot areas more safe. But she also said the weapon was not inside the school building and the district's training and preparation worked. 

"When the unimaginable happens, even though we train and prepare, it doesn't erase the huge emotion and responsibilities," Elizalde said. 

An increased police presence will be provided at both Thomas Jefferson and Walnut Hill Academy for the remainder of the week, and as long as staff and district officials see fit, Elizalde said. 

"We will be here and we will be smiling, but we also have to be ready for some tears," Elizalde said in response to opening the doors to both schools Thursday. 

"I’m totally heartbroken," Jones said. "This is shocking and certainly not reflective of the kind, compassionate, and dedicated community of TJ students and families. Our community is strong and we will get through this together."

Elizalde said their community and others must begin to confront the root issues as gun violence continues to increase. 

“There is not a day that I do not worry about something happening on school grounds. Period," said Elizalde. But she's hopeful their community will bounce back from this tragedy. 

Watch the full press conference below:

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