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North Little Rock families feel safety concerns following graduation shooting

A day after a shooting at North Little Rock High School's graduation, families are now worried about their safety, along with what could mean for the future.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark — A day after a shooting that took place following North Little Rock High School's graduation, families in the area are now worried about their safety, along with what this could mean for future graduations and events.

Graduates had just left Simmons Bank Arena with tassels turned diplomas in hand, only to hear shots ring out sending many and their families to run for cover.

"We were at the top of the tunnel at the box office. All I could see was just crowds of students. You couldn't see the ground," said Caiya Robinson, an attendee.

RELATED: Shots fired outside North Little Rock High graduation at Simmons Bank Arena

"All I heard was tires shredding," Robinson said. "Kind of like somebody speeding off, and then just out there in the crowd I could see just everybody running." 

Robinson and her niece, one of the graduates, were trying to leave the arena. They said that they knew it would be a while before they were able to exit the building due to the line of people. 

"I guess maybe five minutes after that, security came rushing out and they were like 'everybody back outside! back outside,' she said.

North Little Rock police said someone started firing outside the Simmons Bank Arena shortly after 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday.  

Robinson said it's shocking that for a day of celebration, it would end for students in such a terrifying way. 

Police even decided to up their police presence for the graduation. The inspiration behind the decision was the Hot Springs shooting that happened roughly 5 days prior.

"You go from being very happy and ecstatic with your friends and family to fearing for your life within a few moments," said Darius Walton.

He was at the graduation to support his niece. He was outside after the graduation and overheard a man talking about shooting near the arena. 

Walton said he told North Little Rock police 45 minutes before the shooting happened. 

"I'm personally disappointed in our security plan. With several shootings happening recently, I felt like there should have been a better plan and a better presence," said Walton. 

With what he knew, he told local law enforcement but doesn't know if they acted on the tip or not. 

RELATED: One person dead after shooting following Hot Springs graduation

With more graduations around the corner, Simmons Bank Arena gave a statement to THV 11: 

'We want everyone attending to feel as safe as possible as they watch their loved ones graduate. Walk-through magnetometers are at every door and all bags will be searched. We have increased security and increased our staffing.'

No injuries were reported and the incident is still under investigation. 

The department is encouraging anyone with information to contact police and remind those with information that they can remain anonymous.

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