CHESTERFIELD, Va. – Chesterfield students schoolbound on Thursday morning were horrified when they heard gunfire and then the bus pulled up to a stop at the Mallard Cove Apartments immediately after a double shooting that police said was related to a drug transaction. One of the people involved was a Chesterfield County high school student.
Chesterfield Police said that students did not witness the shooting, which left one person dead, and one seriously injured, but that one victim did rush toward the bus. Bystanders began to administer aid to the wounded, in front of the bus.
“He was like bleeding, gushing, everywhere and everyone was panicking and calling 911,” said middle-school student Mirna Andrade, who had just gotten on the bus when they heard gun shots nearby.
“We were pretty scared, we were all like doing our drills and everything,” Andrade said. “We were going down, putting our heads down.”
“He’s got blood coming from his mouth, and on his hands, and it looked like, on his shoulder,” said one witness who tried to help the victim lying near the bus. “He was in shock, he wasn’t talking to me, he was moaning but you could tell he was in a lot of pain.”
“I just saw a guy laying down in front of the bus and he was panicking," Andrade said.
A police investigation confirmed two teens were involved in a drug transaction. The two exchanged gunshots and both males were struck.
Chase S. Harris, 17, of Chesterfield, was pronounced dead at the scene. Harris was attending evening GED courses at Carver College & Career Academy.
The second victim, who collapsed in front of the bus, was transported to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.
The identity of the second victim has not been released, but police confirms the teen is 17 years old and is a student at L.C. Bird High School.
Police said the shooting appears to be an isolated incident.
Bird High School principal Laura Hebert sent a letter home with students that said, a student was injured and taken to the hospital, according to his mother.
She said that school administration and the student support services team have support available to any students who expressed a concern about this issue, and will remain available for as long as needed.
"Please monitor your child this afternoon and tonight, and let us know tomorrow what supports we may be able to assist with," the principal said.
Residents said they hope the children never again have to witness a crime scene such as the bloody one they found at 8 a.m. Thursday.
“It was so unnecessary, we need to pray for everybody that they will start trying to do right and teach each other right from wrong,” one resident said. “It’s hard.”
At this point in the investigation, it is unclear how many students were on board the #398 bus headed to Bailey Bridge Middle School. After the bus came to a stop, many children exited and went home.
"The kids came home on their own," said parent Marlon Harris. "I ended up driving a bunch of them to school."
Police emphasized that no children were injured. Officials worked to get in touch with all students on the bus, to speak to them and make counseling available, though a parent said many students went home after the event.
Police recovered weapons from the scene and said that they are not searching for any suspects currently
“This isn’t typical,” said one witness as he shook his head, “this isn’t something we’ve ever seen here.”
This is a developing story. We will continue to update with additional information.