(TEXAS) — At least four people of interest have been identified in a shooting at an after-prom party in Texas over the weekend that injured nearly a dozen teenagers, authorities said Tuesday.
Eleven teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 were injured in the shooting, which occurred very early Sunday, just after midnight, at a residence on County Road 263, just north of Jasper in the Deep East Texas region, officials said.
The sheriff’s office initially said nine teenagers were injured, though have since learned of two additional victims in the shooting who went to the hospital the following day, according to Jasper County Sheriff Mitchel Newman.
Three of the victims remain hospitalized, while eight are recovering at home, the Jasper County District Attorney’s Office said.
The shooting occurred at an after-party that was attended by more than 250 people following the Jasper High School prom, authorities said.
The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety have increased the officer presence at schools within the county “out of an abundance of caution,” Newman said.
“We will bring those responsible to justice and want to remind the public that violence will not be tolerated in this county,” Newman said during a briefing Tuesday. “Our kids deserve to be safe.”
A motive in the shooting is unclear at this time, Newman said. Deputies are continuing to process evidence and statements and follow leads in the shooting to establish suspects and motives, he said.
“I don’t know if you can find a motive where you would go shoot 11 innocent children, but we’re looking for it,” Newman said.
A second shooting occurred within the city limits of Jasper around 12:45 a.m. Sunday that did not result in any injuries, authorities said. A vehicle involved in that shooting was seen at the after-party on County Road 263 and has since been processed for evidence, Newman said. Authorities are investigating a possible connection between the two shootings, Newman said.
The sheriff’s office was reluctant to release any additional information on the after-prom party shooting — including the caliber of weapon used and if there was more than one shooter — until an arrest is made in the case.
“We’re close to answering more questions, but until we get our answers and we get these people arrested where they won’t seek revenge on our children, then at that time we will release everything we’ve got,” Newman said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Jasper County District Attorney’s Office are assisting in the investigation, Newman said.
The district attorney’s office is also offering support to victims of this “senseless and intolerable act of violence,” Jasper County District Attorney Anne Pickle said at the briefing.
The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office requested witnesses to send any photos or videos they may have from the party amid the investigation.
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