Four teenagers were killed in two separate shootings in a small South Carolina city Sunday in what the town's mayor called a "tragic 24 hours."
One 16-year-old was shot shortly after midnight on Sunday morning and died from injuries at a local hospital, according to Newberry Police Chief Kevin Goodman. Three other teenagers, ages 15, 18 and 19 were shot and killed later that afternoon, around 2:50 p.m. All four victims were shot in a residential area east of downtown Newberry, about one block apart.
Newberry, a town of 10,200, is located about 40 miles northwest of Columbia, South Carolina.
Police are still not sure whether the shootings were connected, according to Goodman. The victims knew each other and "were in the same circle," Goodman said. No arrests have been made in connection to the shootings, he added.
"While we don't know the details of this situation, gun violence must stop," Newberry Mayor Foster Senn said at a Monday news conference.
One of the people questioned in the first fatal shooting was killed in the second shooting. Goodman said it is too early to determine if retaliation was involved.
“When you really don’t know all the players and what it is stemming from, that’s always a concern," Goodman said.
Newberry High School, switched to virtual learning Monday, and resumed its normal schedule, with "additional personnel, including an increased presence of law enforcement" Tuesday, the Newberry County School District told USA TODAY in a statement.
"The Newberry community has been deeply impacted by this weekend’s events, which has led to the loss of four young lives. No parent, friend, teacher is ever prepared to face a tragedy like this," Newberry County School District superintendent Alvin Pressley said in an emailed statement.
In Monday's news conference, Goodman gave an emotional address to Newberry's youngsters. He was in "in disbelief" in the wake of the shootings, he said.
"To the young people of Newberry, understand this: We love you, and I love you. And I want nothing but the best for you. I'm here for you and we have to do better," Goodman said.
Contributing: Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: South Carolina shooting victims shot within a block of each other