FORT WORTH, Texas — One teenager is dead and another is in critical condition at an area hospital after a Friday afternoon shooting in front of a Whataburger in Fort Worth, police said.
Around 4 p.m., officers responded to the shooting in the fast food burger chain's parking lot at 2401 W. Berry Street, which is close to R.L. Paschal High School in the Fort Worth Independent School District.
The teen victims, one female and one male, were sent to a local hospital for medical treatment. The female, approximately 17 years old, according to police, is still in critical condition. The male, approximately 16 years old, did not survive his injuries.
Fort Worth ISD has confirmed the 16-year-old victim was a Paschal High School student. It is still unknown whether the girl was a student at Paschal High School.
Officers believe all parties involved in the incident -- the victims and the suspect, of which police believe there is only one -- are teenagers who knew each other and attended a local high school together.
Detectives are still working to confirm which high school the students attended, police said.
"At first, I was mad," Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes said in a press conference Friday evening. "I'm angry. There’s no reason for any young person -- a student in high school -- to lose their lives at such a young age. There’s no reason for a student in high school to be carrying a gun and shooting another student. But that anger quickly turned to sadness. We’re seeing this across the country with violent crime and, unfortunately, we’re seeing this at home in Fort Worth, Texas -- and I take that personally."
FWPD spokesperson Buddy Calzada said officers blocked off streets surrounding the Whataburger as they continue investigating what he called an "active scene."
No suspect has yet been apprehended.
"We're trying to figure out who the shooter is -- or shooters -- in this case," Cazalda said, encouraging anyone with information to call FWPD's non-emergency line at 817-392-4222 with details that could help the investigation.
"The shooter needs to know that justice will be served," Noakes said. "We will do our jobs in cooperation with the community to make sure they are brought to justice. What I would say to the shooter is, turn yourself in. You made a bad mistake. Turn yourself in, and don’t make this any worse."
WFAA spoke with witnesses at the scene who said they saw one shooter at the scene, and that the shooter left the scene uninjured shortly after firing a gun.
"There was one guy with a gun," said witness Jeronimo Garcia, who was on his way to the restaurant to pick up his grandson after school when he said he saw a teenager shooting at other teens in the parking lot. "I just heard the gunshots and what I tried to do then was cover myself and my grandson. It sounded like a big-caliber gun, a big gun."
Garcia, who lives in Euless, said his grandson and others at the scene had just been let out of school shortly before the shooting occurred.
"What I think first is about my grandson," Garcia said. "He's in school here, and it's dangerous. I don't know if the shooter was from the school, but we're in a pretty dangerous situations with guns."
Garcia said he heard five or six gunshots before he saw the shooter leave the scene in a truck.
"At this time, we don't feel there is a threat to the public," said Cazalda.
Fort Worth ISD spokesperson Claudia Garibay told WFAA the district placed Paschal High School on lockdown after school dismissal upon hearing news of the shooting.
The school's varsity basketball game scheduled for Friday night has also been canceled due to "restricted access to the campus." The game has been rescheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21.
FWISD said the district has support staff available for Paschal students and staff at the campus.
"Fort Worth ISD continues to collaborate with the Fort Worth Police Department as they continue this ongoing investigation," said Garibay.
This shooting comes after recent news of several teens being shot and killed across the DFW area.
"It seems these days with some very young people -- teenagers, early 20s -- conflict resolution always involves a gun," Noakes said. "The lack of importance put on human life, the sanctity of human life, is staggering to me. What I would say to those young people is, 'You have so much more to live for, and so do those that you may have a problem with. Whatever the conflict is, a gun is not the answer.'"
Noakes added that he believes the community at large needs to do a better job with its youth.
"We've got some amazing officers at the Fort Worth Police Department who do great work every single day," the chief said. "We are working day and night, 24/7, 365 to deal with the violent crime -- but cannot do it alone. Research has shown one of the greatest predictors of success in a child’s life is strong family ties, strong parents, strong role models. We’re asking parents get involved in your child's life, find out if there are issues. If your child has a weapon, reach out to us to help, reach out to someone to actually talk to that child. Take the gun away. Families have to be involved. Communities have to involved. We have to be involved. To really stop this crime, it’s gonna take all of us."
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.