1 dead, 1 in critical condition in shooting after Tennessee high school graduation

1 dead, 1 in critical condition in shooting after Tennessee high school graduation

Published May 20, 2022
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One person was killed and another was injured in a shooting that erupted Wednesday after a high school graduation ceremony held on a Tennessee college campus, police said.

Gunfire broke out as people were leaving the ceremony for Riverdale High School that took place at the Murphy Center on Middle Tennessee State University’s campus, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dan Goodwin said in a Wednesday night news conference.

Officers with the university and the Murfreesboro police departments responded to the shooting at about 8:51 p.m. and found two people with gunshot wounds near the tennis courts outside Murphy Center, Goodwin said.

One was pronounced dead and the other was critical but stable, according to officials.

“Tonight’s shooting at MTSU is a tragedy. We mourn with the family who lost a loved one and the victim injured,” Goodwin said.

Multiple agencies are involved in the search for one suspect in the shooting. A description of the suspect has not been released.

In an update Thursday afternoon, the Murfreesboro Police Department said a person of interest was identified in the shooting and detectives are in the process of locating him. 

It wasn’t clear if the victims or the person of interest were affiliated with the high school. NBC News has reached out to Rutherford County Schools for comment.

Middle Tennessee State University said in a statement to NBC News “we are not aware of any involvement or connection in the incident by members of the MTSU community.”

“Our hearts go out to the Riverdale students, faculty and family members affected by Wednesday night’s tragedy. MTSU has offered support to Murfreesboro Police and other law enforcement agencies in their investigation,” the statement said, noting the graduation was not a university event.

“We will work closely with the school system regarding their needs for tonight’s ceremony for Blackman High School,” the statement continued.

A Rutherford County Schools spokesperson said the ceremony celebrated some 450 graduates of Riverdale High and their family members. Riverdale High School was closed Thursday as a precaution. 

The university issued an alert to the campus about the shooting, urging students to “leave the area if possible or shelter in place.” That alert was lifted hours later.

Marlene Lenthang is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.