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Search warrants, student's cellphone video offer inside look at Heritage High School shooting

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Posted at 9:23 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 13:07:34-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Wednesday, News 3 talked with a middle school student who was inside Heritage High School in Newport News Monday morning when a shooting took place. The student also caught on camera the moments when people evacuated the school building.

Multiple people were injured, including two teens who were shot. All of those injured are expected to be okay.

Meanwhile, a 15-year-old boy and Heritage High student is in custody as the suspect.

“Until the school can promise me that they can be the second parent and protect him when I send him to school, then he’ll be ready to come back,” parent Iris Tyler said.

Forty-eight hours later, Tyler is still concerned and shocked.

“The most alarming part was my son texting me and saying, ‘Mama. If I die, I love you, and I pray to God,'” she said.

Her son is a Huntington Middle student whose classes are on Heritage High's campus.

For him, Monday's events are still fresh on his mind.

“I thought they were working on the roof until students started saying that there’s a school shooter,” her son, who wants to stay anonymous due to safety concerns, said. “I didn’t believe them at first - until the announcements came on. Everyone just got down and was hiding. My classmates were crying, and I was crying a little bit.”

“After a while, the cops came in letting us out and I got my phone and took a video,” her son added.

Cellphone video taken by Tyler’s son, obtained by News 3, shows students evacuating the school Monday.

Heritage High School student video

“If someone else wasn’t going to record it, I might as well,” he said. “I was scared. I was terrified. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

“When I saw my mom, I was crying in joy and hugged her,” he added.

News 3 is also getting a look at search warrants filed by Newport News Police related to Monday's shooting.

Warrants detailed the suspect was caught on multiple cameras.

According to the warrants, authorities say detectives found a firearm in a trashcan on school property while following the path the shooter took when fleeing.

One search warrant states the suspect was clearly wearing an Electronic Monitoring Program (EMP) ankle bracelet at the time of the shooting and had a black backpack discarded along the way.

Another warrant says the 17-year-old boy who was shot multiple times stated he was leaving the school cafeteria when he got involved in a physical altercation with an unknown student, who pulled out a firearm and opened fire.

Meanwhile, the second gunshot victim, a 17-year-old girl, stated she was walking down the hallway after lunch and heard gunshots when she was hit in the leg.

“If we had security, everything would’ve been secure and the gun wouldn’t have even gotten into the school,” Tyler said.

For Tyler, she believes more security measures are needed in schools and says something needs to be done to address recent gun violence and to keep guns away from kids.

Related: Newport News School Board outlines plan to move forward after shooting at Heritage High

“At the end of the day, we can’t point fingers,” she said.

“It’s going to take more than coming out one night of praying. It’s going to take more than just coming on TV saying you want change,” Tyler added. “We’re going to have to get out here and do something about it. If not, we’re not going to have any more youth.”

Heritage High School officials posted to Twitter Wednesday that the school will start temporary virtual instruction Thursday morning.