State police are conducting an extensive investigation into who fired at least two gunshots late Friday afternoon not far from the entrance to the Loyalsock Township Middle School on Loyalsock Drive.
There were no reports of injuries.
The shots were fired about 4:45 p.m. near the school district's bus garage, at least a hundred yards north of the middle school, police said.
PHILIP A. HOLMES/Sun-Gazette
State troopers rushed to the Loyalsock Township High School-Middle School complex on Loyalsock Drive late Friday afternoon after gunshots were fired near the school district’s bus garage.
A handgun, believed to be the one that was fired, was recovered a short distance from the garage, Trooper Tyson Havens, a criminal investigator, confirmed.
"Witnesses heard what they thought at first were fireworks, but were actual gunshots," Haven said.
When the incident occurred, a group of about 30 high school band members were practicing on a field on the opposite end of Loyalsock Township High School-Middle School complex, District Superintendent Robert W. Grantier said.
"The students were taken off the field immediately and brought into the high school, which was locked down until state police assured us that it was safe," Grantier said.
"Our first priority of course was to make sure all students and staff were accounted for and safe," he added.
"The state police were immediately notified and were here very quickly," Grantier said.
Most of the school staff had left the complex by 4:30 p.m. and classes do not begin until Tuesday.
Havens said that within seconds after the shots were heard, witnesses reported seeing two vehicles, possible a third, outside the bus garage.
"A witness said there appeared to be an exchange (of words) between the occupants of the vehicles. Then someone got out of one the cars and threw something over here. It was later discovered to be a firearm," Havens told a reporter during a brief interview outside the garage.
The vehicles then quickly drove off the school property. One of the cars police were looking for was a blue newer-model Chevy Camaro.
When asked if anyone was injured, Havens said "We don't know that. We didn't find any blood or any other evidence of someone being shot."
Police had not received any reports as of Friday night of a gunshot victim showing up at an emergency room, he said.
Investigators did not know if those involved in the shooting were related in any way to the schools, which are in separate buildings but connected. The address of the middle school is is 2101 Loyalsock Dr. while the high school's is 1801 Loyalsock Dr.
"We don't know who is involved yet. We're still looking for witnesses," Havens said.
In addition to recovering a handgun, police recovered ballistics evidence on school property, Havens said. "We have traceable stuff," he said, declining to elaborate.
Police are also reviewing video that was recorded from exterior cameras on the schools' property.
After talking with investigators, school district officials decided to go ahead with a scheduled 7 p.m. scrimmage involving the Loyalsock Township and Jersey Shore varsity football teams at the high school's football field, Grantier said.
State police believed it was safe to proceed with the scrimmage. "We needed to move ahead," Grantier said police told the district. Extra security, including state troopers, were to be on hand for the event.