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3 shot at Hammond High School graduation, suspect in custody

Authorities say that four people were injured in the shooting, with injuries ranging from minor to severe.

HAMMOND, La. — Three people were shot outside the Hammond High School graduation on Southeastern Louisiana University's campus on Thursday night. Authorities say one person is in custody.

Investigators say gunfire erupted outside the University Center building as graduating seniors were exiting the ceremony to meet their families. Hammond Police Chief Edwin Bergeron said the shooting happened after an altercation with a suspect and a juvenile. 

Bergeron said 20-year-old Trent Thomas of Hammond, La., has been booked on several charges, including three counts of attempted second-degree murder. He is being held at the Tangipahoa Parish Jail.

"We had a normal graduation for Hammond High School within the building. When our graduates were ready to dismiss and the families were outside to greet them, outside the University Center, that's when the shots began to fire," Superintendent Melissa Stilley said at a news conference late Thursday night.

Stilley apologized to families and the students who attended the ceremony.

"What should have been a very happy occasion for our graduates and their families ended on such a sad note," Stilley said. "We pray for the families that were impacted directly and our students who will always have this memory of this graduation on their minds."

Hammond Police Chief Edwin Bergeron said that no juveniles were among the wounded, and none of the injuries were considered life-threatening.

"The most important thing we need to know is that right now Hammond is safe. Southeastern is safe," Bergeron said.

Hammond High underclassmen will work virtually on Friday, school leaders say. Faculty will still report to work on campus.

Witnesses in the area shared video of a large law enforcement presence on the campus.


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