2 High School Cheerleaders Killed in Crash, Police Officer Arrested

A community has been left in mourning after two high school cheerleaders were killed when a police chase turned deadly this weekend and an officer was charged.

Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 15 — both students and cheerleaders at Brusly High School in Louisiana — died in the crash, which officials said occurred during a high-speed chase after a home invasion suspect Saturday night.

Meg’s brother Liam Dunn was also in the car at the time of the crash and is in a critical condition.

“He will need surgery. He has a broken femur, tabula, left wrist, fractured skull and several other issues. We are asking for prayers,” his father Kenny shared on Facebook, asking friends and family to donate blood on his behalf at Our Lady Regional Medical Center from the lake in Baton Rouge.

“We don’t know why God took our daughter, but I bet she runs a shop there,”

Addis Police Officer David Cauthron, 42, was arrested Sunday and charged with two counts of negligent homicide and one count of negligent wounding, WBRZ-TV reports.

According to booking documents, Cauthron remained in custody as of Monday afternoon. It is unclear whether Cauthron has hired legal counsel to comment on his behalf.

District Attorney Tony Clayton said the officer is currently on administrative leave and “has a lot of questions to answer about his speed and sheer negligence.”

“It’s inexcusable that these kids didn’t get to start the New Year, but we’ll look at the facts first,” Clayton added to WBRZ-TV. “I just can’t wrap my head around why (the officer) drove at that speed in pursuit of this vehicle. This officer is facing serious problems.”

Clayton continued, “If it involves putting human life in danger, stop the damn quest. It’s just not worth the risk.”

Authorities say the officer crashed into a car carrying the teenagers while chasing 24-year-old Tyquel Zanders, The Advocate reports.

He was arrested after his car later stopped and charged with home invasion, vehicle theft and obstructed flight, the agency said. It was not immediately clear whether he had retained legal counsel to comment on his behalf.

In a statement sent to students and faculty members and posted on social media, Brusley High School Principal Walt Lemoine said the losses “are far-reaching in our school community as Maggie’s mother, Erin Martin, and sister, Tori Hill, work at our school. Caroline’s senior sister is a senior at Brusly High School and has younger siblings in our school system.”

“Their losses will certainly raise many emotions, concerns and questions for our entire school, especially our students,” Lemoine continued, adding that the school has a Crisis Intervention Team “made up of professionals trained to assist with the needs of students, parents and school staff in hard times like this.” He added that counselors are available to all students who need it.

Lemoine added that the school will start the school day Tuesday with an assembly and will have school professionals on hand all day “to help students who need additional support in the form of individual or small group counseling.”

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Meanwhile, the girls’ high school cheerleading team released a statement on Facebook, urging community members to keep the families of the victims in their thoughts.

“As we mourn the tragic deaths of Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill, please keep their families, friends and the BHS community in your thoughts and prayers,” the statement said. “Their enthusiasm and bright smiles will be missed more than one can imagine.”

As stated on the Facebook page, the candlelight vigil is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday on the high school football field.

Police in Addis did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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