4 students shot at Atlanta’s Benjamin E. Mays High School

Police say victims have non-life-threatening injuries
Police direct traffic outside Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta on Wednesday after four students were shot.

Credit: Miguel JimMartinez

Credit: Miguel JimMartinez

Police direct traffic outside Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta on Wednesday after four students were shot.

Four students were shot Wednesday afternoon at Benjamin E. Mays High School, according to officials.

Atlanta Public Schools police Chief Ronald Applin told reporters that a fight broke out in the parking lot around 4 p.m., shortly after school was dismissed.

“Shortly after responding, there were shots fired,” he said at a news conference Wednesday night. “Our officers were there. They immediately responded, treated the students who were wounded.”

No other students, faculty or staff were injured, authorities said.

The victims, three 17-year-olds and an 18-year-old — all male — were rushed to a hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, Atlanta police Maj. Ralph Woolfolk said. Atlanta police are assisting school police in the investigation.

“The information they (APS police) were able to provide early on was critical in us being able to quickly get a vehicle stopped at Baker Road and Commercial Drive,” Woolfolk said.

Law enforcement from several agencies converged after four students suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Credit: Miguel Martinez Jimenez

icon to expand image

Credit: Miguel Martinez Jimenez

Three people were inside that vehicle, a 35-year-old woman and her teenage children, he said, adding that they were all detained and taken to police headquarters for questioning. Woolfolk did not elaborate on what their connection is to the shooting but said they were cooperative with the investigation.

All after-school activities were canceled. Investigators stayed at the school late into the evening as they interviewed around 100 students. By 8:30 p.m., they still had 20 interviews to complete.

“I’m shocked and heartbroken,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, who joined law enforcement at the news conference. He attended the school.

“This is a place where I spent four years of my life as a student,” he said. “And this is where I’ve been at least a couple of times a year as mayor coming in for various events, whether it’s sports-related, academic-related, these are bright, young people ... a couple of bad actors have just disrupted this day, but they’re not going to disrupt their dreams, and we’re going to help them get to where they’re going in life.”

The shooting drew the attention of President Joe Biden, who mentioned it in a statement late Wednesday, along with incidents at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade and three police officers shot in the line of duty in Washington, D.C.

“The epidemic of gun violence is ripping apart families and communities every day,” Biden said. “Some make the news. Much of it doesn’t. But all of it is unacceptable. We have to decide who we are as a country. For me, we’re a country where people should have the right to go to school, to go to church, to walk the street — and to attend a Super Bowl celebration — without fear of losing your life to gun violence.”

Wednesday’s shooting comes about two weeks after two people were shot in the parking lot of McEachern High School in Cobb County. Three suspects face charges in that case. Cobb school board member Leroy “Tre’” Hutchins is holding a school safety town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the McEachern Performing Arts Center.

This isn’t the first shooting incident that involved the Mays community. Student Bre’Asia Powell was shot and killed in May at a late-night gathering outside the high school, officials said. The 16-year-old, who would have been a junior this year, was an outstanding athlete and student, her friends said. Three people have been arrested in connection with her killing.

— Staff writer Jozsef Papp contributed to this article.