Hillhouse High School football player shot in New Haven shooting - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hillhouse High School football player shot in New Haven shooting

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Hillhouse High School in New Haven. (WFSB photo) Hillhouse High School in New Haven. (WFSB photo)

A high school football player in New Haven was involved in a shooting that happened on Thursday.

Police said 18-year-old Derrick Smith, a Hillhouse High School player, was shot in the stomach and the thigh.

While the Hillhouse football team is set to kick off at 6 p.m. against Daniel Hand High School of Madison, Smith, a linebacker, will remain in the hospital.

The injuries were said to be non-life-threatening.

Police cruisers were parked outside of the high school for all of Friday. Offices on motorcycles joined students for dismissal.

"Its kind of sad because I knew the kid, he was cool, we played basketball together," said Coby Ukadike, a Hillhouse senior.

Ukadike said he just had class with Smith.

"I have pre calculus with him too and I worked with him [Thursday] in pre-calculus," he said.

District and school leaders initiated their "YouthStat" protocols in response to the shooting. An emergency meeting by the New Haven's Office of Youth Family and Community Engagement was held at Hillhouse Friday to inform community leaders about what happened. It was not open to the media or the public.

"Right now our main concern ensuring all our students in the school are safe, making sure we can continue to support and communicate with the student's family and helping our students cope with this incident," said Superintendent Garth Harries. "[Thursday] night, district and school administrators were on site with the family to represent the district's ongoing support through the situation. We immediately initiated YouthStat because this is when our at-risk students need that kind of tailored engagement the most. [Friday] and over the weekend we will continue doing all we can to support the student's family as well as the community, and we're hoping for a safe and speedy recovery."

Police said they began investigating after receiving a domestic complaint on Elsworth Avenue Thursday night. They heard gunfire to the north.

They ran toward Chapel Street and spotted two men running across the street. One disappeared as he cut through backyards. The other was caught and interviewed.

Other officers who arrived on the scene found shooting evidence on Stanley Street and several bullet holes through the window of a parked and unoccupied car.

"It's sad and the violence needs to stop, [they] need to get along," said Lynette Himes of New Haven.

A witness told police that she saw a shooter who stood 5'9" tall with a thin build. He had his hair in short braids and wore a black hooded sweatshirt with drawstrings and black or dark blue jeans. She also said he carried a black handgun in his right hand.

As police continued their investigation, a K9 unit found Smith in the backyard of a Stanley Street home. They said a revolver was found nearby.

Smith was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment.

Police said they were hopeful that video surveillance will produce more leads in the case.

A second gun was found by officers in a driveway of a building near Ella T. Grasso Boulevard and Chapel Street. It was near where the officers saw the fleeing men.

"You don't know if the person that shot him is inside the school, so it's kind of hard to know how to feel," said Tayshanna Jackson, a Hillhouse junior.

Anyone with information is asked to contact New Haven detectives at 203-946-6304.

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