Magruder High student out of surgery, stable following shooting; suspect held without bond

A Montgomery County, Maryland, student is out of surgery and in stable condition, a police spokesperson said, following a shooting at Magruder High School, in which another student was taken into custody and is currently being held without bond.

Montgomery County police said that school security became aware of an incident inside a school bathroom at 12:53 p.m. on Friday. A 15-year-old male student had been shot and 911 was called four minutes later.

Police Chief Marcus Jones said the school went into lockdown a few minutes after the call, adding that officers made a methodical search of the building. “We believed at the time the student was not a danger to other students.”

The suspect, who police identified as 17-year-old Steven Alston Jr., was found in a classroom around 3 p.m.; the police found the gun nearby. Alston, a student at Magruder High School, is being charged as an adult.

Montgomery County police charged him with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, possession of a dangerous weapon on school property and possession of a firearm by a minor

The injured student was taken to the hospital in serious condition and underwent surgery, Jones said.

Police confirmed Saturday that the weapon used was a ghost gun, but it is not known how it got into the school. He added Friday afternoon that police haven’t talked with the suspect’s parents yet.

Montgomery County police said the incident was caused by a dispute between the two students, and that they do not believe Alston was targeting anybody else.

The school, located in Derwood, Maryland, was locked down for about four hours after the shooting. Dismissal began between 5 and 6 p.m., according to a letter by Principal Leroy Evans.

Dr. Monifa McKnight, the interim superintendent of schools, thanked the school’s teachers, staff and students for keeping it together during a stressful afternoon. “I know this is a very difficult situation for you,” she said.

Crisis management team would be in the school over the weekend and into next week for anyone who needed support, and the employee assistance program was available for staff, McKnight said.

The Montgomery County Council issued a statement Friday night, saying they are heartbroken by the “senseless shooting” at the high school. Members of the council wished the injured student well and thanked the school personnel and first responders.

The council also encouraged young people, their parents and schools staff to take advantage of the services offered by the county and its partners.

McKnight said guns and gun violence are “a scourge” in the county and nationwide.

“We need to keep guns out of our school, but also out of the hands of young people in the community,” she said.

WTOP’s Zeke Hartner contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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