GARY, Ind. — Three people are in custody after two people were shot during a graduation ceremony in Gary, Indiana Sunday.
More than 200 graduates and their families attended the ceremony at U.S. Steel Yard Stadium Sunday for the graduation ceremony for West Side Leadership Academy Sunday.
Police said they initially received a call about a fight at the location around 6 p.m.
About 45 minutes later, police say there were calls of shots fired outside the stadium.
According to police, two people sustained gunshot wounds and were taken to Methodist Hospital Northlake.
A third person was treated at the scene, police said.
According to the Times of Northwest Indiana, a 19-year-old man was shot in the chest and a 19-year-old woman was shot in the ankle. Gary police said they were both transported to Methodist Hospital Northlake.
Jeanai Velez was at the ceremony was there to watch her younger sister Senai Jones graduate.
“Everybody was excited, joyful – it’s a special event and she was excited. It’s a new chapter in her life,” she said. “So we all came in good spirits. Everybody came in good spirits.”
“During the ceremony, when they were calling the graduates names, a fight broke out. … We took (our grandmother) out to the car. A lot of people started leaving so that’s when the chaos started.”
Melvin Adams Jr. was also at the graduation and said it’s unfortunate to see something so special become overshadowed by gun violence.
“We have to do better for our city and our town. We have to represent and show our people something different, show the world something different,” he said. “There’s a lot of bad stigma about Gary, Indiana but we have to show them something. We have to be different. We have to be better.”
The Gary Community School Corporation released the following statement regarding the shooting:
A day that was meant for celebration has now been marked by tragedy through senseless acts of gun violence. During the entire graduation, our students conducted themselves in an excellent manner. Meanwhile, the disruptive actions of a few overshadowed their special moment. Thankfully, the offenders have been apprehended, but it doesn’t change the hurt and disappointment our students, families and school community are now feeling. Our prayers are with those injured, and we continue to extend our congratulations to WSLA graduates. They deserve it.”Dr. Paige McNulty, Manager GCSC
“It was chaotic, it was scary. It was nerve wracking,” Velez said. “It was kind of irritating because this is a graduation ceremony. We’re supposed to be on our best behavior. We supposed to celebrate them and they can’t even feel celebrated.
The investigation is ongoing at this time.
Anyone with information on this incident is urged to contact Detective Sergeant Nielsen at 219-881-1210 or the Crime Tip Line at 866-CRIME-GP.