Students and teachers at an eastern Arkansas junior high school grieved the loss of a 16-year-old who authorities said was fatally shot early Friday morning at a West Memphis home.
Taylon Vail was struck by gunfire around 2 a.m. in the 2000 block of East Harrison Street, according to school and police officials. Details about what led to the shooting remained unclear Friday afternoon, as classmates and the community mourned the teenager’s death.
“It’s an extremely hard loss,” said West Junior High School Principal Charles Tyler, the head of the school Vail attended.
Vail played on the school’s basketball team, his principal said. The team posted a message on its Twitter page reading “you will always be loved and missed. Fly High.”
Counselors were at the school Friday for students and teachers needing help. Extra police officers were also at the school, though police said the seventh- through ninth-grade school hadn’t been threatened.
Authorities said Vail died at the scene when officers responded to a home.
The West Memphis Police Department didn’t return messages seeking further detail. The department issued a brief statement about the shooting Friday morning, which didn’t say whether officers had made any arrests.
It said police were investigating at the time.
Tyler described news of the shooting as “devastating” for all at the 504-student school.
“We lost one of our students last night to senseless violence,” read a Friday afternoon statement from the junior high school. “Please pray for this young man’s family and friends and for our students who are trying to make sense of this.”
Check back for updates on this developing story.