Washburn High School, MPS issue statements after fight leads to stabbing, shots fired

A fight at Washburn High School in Minneapolis led to a stabbing and shots being fired Thursday evening, police said.

Minneapolis officers got a 911 call about a “large fight” inside the auditorium of Washburn High School around 7:55 p.m., according to Chief Brian O’Hara.

Officers found a 17-year-old who had been stabbed in the back. His wounds were non-life-threatening, and he was brought to the hospital, police said.

As more law enforcement got to the school, bystanders pointed out suspects involved in the fight.

Police said that a 15-year-old was later brought to the hospital with a potentially life-threatening injury sustained in the fight.

An officer began chasing the suspects, and when he turned a corner, he heard gunfire and saw a muzzle flash, according to police. Three shell casings were later recovered from the intersection.

Multiple officers began chasing the teens.

The 16-year-old who fired the gun has been arrested, and a Glock handgun with a 50-round drum magazine was recovered, O’Hara said. He added that the officer isn’t sure yet whether the teen was shooting at him.

A 17-year-old who was running with the other teen was also detained. Officers are determining whether to book him into custody.

“I am incredibly thankful that no one else was seriously hurt,” O’Hara said.

In a statement Friday, Washburn High School noted that neither the two suspects nor the two injured teens were students at the school.

The full statement reads:

Miller Community – I am so sorry that our beautiful Somali Culture Night performances were disrupted by violence last night (5-25-23). Here’s what we know: 

During the performance, a large fight broke out in the auditorium that resulted in someone being stabbed with a knife. The show was forced to end and we cleared the auditorium. However, the fighting continued outside and another person was injured. After police arrived, a gun was fired in the neighborhood, but thankfully no one was injured from that. 

Police arrested both the student with the gun and the student who used the knife. The two injured students were taken to the hospital. None of those 4 students were Washburn students. 

The situation was horrible, but we are strong, and I believe it was important to have school today. Our district emergency team determined that it is safe for us to be in school, and safe to go on with all of the day’s planned activities. We also know we have supports at school that not everyone has at home, and sometimes staying in our routines is the healthiest thing we can do in times of tragedy. 

And yes, we will have a Somali Culture Night performance again next year. Our students put on a wonderful show last night, and while in the future we may have to better control who comes in, we will continue to share our students’ talents in every way we can. Thank you!

Dr. Emily Lilja Palmer, principal of Washburn High School

Though Washburn High School’s statement says the stabbing suspect was arrested, police were unable to confirm that information Friday.

Friday morning, Minneapolis Public Schools issued the following statement regarding the incident:

“Last night, an event at Washburn High School was disrupted by a large fight that involved weapons. Minneapolis Police were called and arrested two individuals. We are devastated that what started as a beautiful evening ended up with senseless violence.

School continued on at Washburn today, where students and staff had access to various supports if they wanted to process what happened with a trusted adult. Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) is cooperating with police as they work on their investigation.

MPS will continue to do everything we can to ensure student and staff safety at school events.”

Minneapolis Public Schools