5 teens shot, injured at ‘senior skip day’ gathering in Greenbelt park

Greenbelt Police Chief Rick Bowers holds a news conference after five young people were shot Friday afternoon when gunfire broke out during a high school “senior skip day” gathering at Schrom Hills Park in Greenbelt, Maryland, according to police. (WTOP/Scott Gelman)

Five young people, ages 16 to 18, were shot and injured during a “senior skip day” gathering at a Greenbelt, Maryland, park on Friday afternoon.

Police said officers were called to Schrom Hills Park on the 6900 block of Hanover Parkway, responding to reports of hundreds of high school students who had congregated for the unofficial event around 2:30 p.m.

Approximately 20 officers from the Greenbelt Police Department, Prince George’s County Police Department and the Maryland State Police arrived to find what Greenbelt Police Chief Rick Bowers described as an estimated 500-plus students in the park.

“And while those officers were walking into the park, they heard the sound of gunshots,” said Bowers during a news conference Friday evening.

The five victims — reportedly all male — were hospitalized, with one in critical condition.

Three of the victims were released from the hospital Saturday, with the two remaining victims hospitalized in stable condition.

“Senior skip day” is an annual tradition of sorts for high school seniors in the area.

“These kids will leave the school and they come over to the local park, and they bring Super Soakers and other squirt guns and they have a good time playing water-gun battles,” Bowers said. “(It) happened last year, and it was relatively peaceful.”

But this time, Bowers said, someone in the crowd opened fire, sending the students running away onto nearby Hanover Parkway. He added that investigators believe there was a single shooter who left the scene in the crowd that fled immediately after the shooting.

“When they did that, we believe the suspect left with them and fled the park,” said Bowers.

Bowers said it’s too soon to determine a possible motive or whether the suspect knew the victims.

Investigators will be scouring body-worn camera footage from responding officers and are asking anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.

“We’re already starting to see some video online. And we know that there’s going to be a lot more of that kind of video out there,” said Bowers. “So we’re really hoping that the students will start sending us that video, or at least post it, so we can get it from there.”

Bowers said a number of the students present attend nearby Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

Greenbelt Mayor Emmett Jordan said he is grateful the officers were able to respond so quickly.

“Our thoughts are with the families, with the classmates, with the victims,” said Jordan. “If a group of high school students cannot get together and have a good time — what is the world coming to?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

Terik King

Terik King is an Associate Producer for WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2022 he held roles producing podcasts, unscripted television and content for MTV, the NFL and independent documentary production companies.

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