Shooting a "big blow" for Helmond girl, 15, who was accidentally hit

A 15-year-old girl who was hit by a stray bullet during a shooting in Helmond on Monday afternoon, is not doing great. Her physical injuries are not too bad, but mentally she suffered a "big blow", a spokesperson for her school said to RTL Nieuws. 

At least one gunman opened fire on a car on Molenstraat at around 3:20 p.m. on Monday. A 2-year-old girl, who was sitting on the back of her mother's bicycle, was hit in the leg. The 15-year-old girl, who was passing the targeted car with a group of classmates, was hit in the arm. The toddler is still in hospital. The teen girl was sent home after treatment. "It's not too bad when it comes to physical injuries, but especially mentally it is a big blow", Perry Vermeulen of the Knippenberg College said to the broadcaster.

Two of the school's classes were on their way back from an activity organized by the school when the shooting happened. "Pupils had to build a kind of Escape Room in the city. They walked in groups." There were no teachers with them, they were busy cleaning up after the activity. But a number of pupils witnessed the shooting. 

On Tuesday the school focused on aftercare, Vermeulen said. "Also for the class that was involved. We spoke with her and her parents. We started the day with mentors and department leaders to explain how they can handle this. We're looking with Victim Support whether a trajectory with individual students is needed."

The incident rocked the entire school, Vermeulen said to the broadcaster. "We had a great day of celebration yesterday, because we had earned the predicate 'excellent school'. The atmosphere has completely changed. The annoying thing is: this was unavoidable. That's also affecting the pupils: it could have happened to me."

The police arrested a 23-year-old man shortly after the shooting, but released him later on Monday after it turned out he had nothing to do with the incident. The actual perpetrator or perpetrators are still being sought. The occupants in the targeted car fled on foot. The police are also looking for them.