ATMORE, Ala. (WALA) -- A graduation party attended by "past and present students" of Escambia County High School turned deadly in Atmore early Saturday morning, as shots rang out during a chaotic scene.

Police say one person was killed and eight others were wounded during the shooting.

Escambia County High School principal Dennis Fuqua said the community "felt the pangs of tragedy due to the acts of violence that left several of our past and present students injured."

Escambia County High School Principal Dennis Fuqua's statement

Escambia County High School Principal Dennis Fuqua's statement

According to Atmore police, officers were dispatched around 2 a.m. to a call of shots fired at 100 Martin Luther King Ave, which is the location of the former Escambia County Middle School. That former school building is now a community center.  

Officers heard gunshots going off around the property as they arrived on the scene.  The officers assisted the gunshot victims while restoring order at the scene, police said. Officers found one male victim dead in the cafeteria.

Witnesses told police a fight initially broke out between two women. Officials say gunshots were fired inside the building, hitting several individuals. The unknown individuals suspected of firing the shots fled to the parking lot, where police say more shots were fired, hitting more victims.  

According to officials, a total of eight people were injured during the gunfire. They were transported to Atmore Community Hospital for treatment.  

Atmore police encourage anyone with information about the shooting to call authorities.

Saturday afternoon, Escambia County High School Principal Dennis Fuqua issued the following statement:

"It's always a great day to be a Blue Devil, but yesterday was a day of triumph and tragedy. By day, our seniors experienced the high of obtaining 8.6 million dollars in scholarships, and our varsity football team experienced their first win of the season. Yet, by night we all felt the pangs of tragedy due to the acts of violence that have left several of our past and present students injured. It is unfortunate that the event at the community center has tainted the success our seniors and football team felt, but we love our Blue Devil Family and will continue to pray for wisdom and healing."


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