CHICAGO (CBS) — An 18-year-old student at Portage High School was shot and killed Wednesday night in Griffith, Indiana.
Shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, a Griffith police officer heard what sounded like a crash near the 1800 block of North Arbogast, and went to investigate, when he spotted a vehicle driving off at a high rate of speed. Police said the car turned onto Ridge Road, and went into the parking lot of the nearby Mansard’s Plaza, on Ridge Road, where the driver pulled up to a marked police car.
Those officers learned there was an 18-year-old woman inside the car who had been shot. She was taken to Northlake Methodist Hospital in Gary, where she died.
The Lake County Coroner’s office identified her as Alayna Ortiz, of Valparaiso.
Police said investigators have questioned “associates of the victim,” and were following up on leads from physical evidence, video footage, and eyewitness accounts. However, police have not commented on the circumstances of the shooting.
Portage Township Schools spokeswoman Melissa Deavers-Lowie said Ortiz was a student at Portage High School.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to this student’s family and friends, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts,” Deavers-Lowie stated in an email.
The school told parents a crisis team would be available for students grieving the death of their classmate.
“Grief can be expressed in many different ways, and you can expect a variety of emotions and behaviors from your child. One of the most important actions you can take is responding to your child’s feelings and providing reassurance as he or she brings up fears and concerns,” Deavers-Lowie stated.
Parents also can call the Portage High School Guidance Department with any questions at 219-764-6040.
Anyone with information about the shooting should call Griffith police at 219-924-7503, ext 252; or the anonymous tip hotline at 219-922-3085.