Group gathers to pray at Heritage High School following school shooting

Posted at 2:49 PM, Sep 21, 2021

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - About 24 hours after two 17-year-olds were shot inside Heritage High School, a group gathered in the school's parking lot to prayTuesday afternoon.

"Instead of letting the world raise our kids, we're going to raise our kids," said Pastor Ronald Hastings from the The Hope Center.

Among the group was a woman whose daughter was inside the school Monday when the shots were fired. The daughter is okay, but rattled.

The mom cried onto the shoulder of a friend while the group prayed over her.

"I speak to healing to her right now, God, whoever she encountered yesterday," one of the members of the group said.

The school was quieter a day later. The crime scene is down, and the students are gone.

The school was closed on Tuesday and has now established a support hotline for anyone who needs help.

Members of the group said the incident is a reminder parents need to be talking with their kids.

"We have to teach our kids how to properly channel their anger, how to properly use their emotions," said Hastings.

Following the shooting, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew held a Facebook Live on Tuesday afternoon to talk with members of the community and answer their questions.

"To the students, I'm sorry this happened," he said.

Drew called the incident "isolated" and confirmed a student shot two of his fellow classmates, both of whom are expected to survive.

On Tuesday, police provided an update and said a family member took the suspect, a 15-year-old boy, to Juvenile Services, where he was then taken to the Newport News Police Department headquarters for an interview.

The chief called on the community to help prevent incidents like this from happening.

"I think it's being vigilant and the old adage: If you see something or hear something, say something," he said.

Related: ‘Could have been a lot of lives lost today’: Newport News parents react to school shooting