A girl has shot two students and a janitor at a middle school in Idaho on Thursday (local time) before being disarmed by a hero teacher.
Local authorities said at a news conference the girl pulled a handgun from her backpack and fired multiple shots inside and outside Rigby Middle School in the small city of Rigby in the state’s east, just after 9am.
A female teacher disarmed the sixth-grader and held her until police arrived, Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Sheriff Anderson said all three victims were shot in their limbs and were expected to survive.
In the US, sixth-grade students are aged between 11 and 12.
Police were called to the school around 9:15 a.m. after students and staffers heard gunfire. Multiple law enforcement agencies responded, and students were evacuated to a nearby high school to be reunited with their parents.
“Me and my classmate were just in class with our teacher — we were doing work — and then all of a sudden, here was a loud noise and then there were two more loud noises. Then there was screaming,” 12-year-old Yandel Rodriguez said. “Our teacher went to check it out, and he found blood.”
Yandel’s mom, Adela Rodriguez, said they were OK but “still a little shaky” from the shooting as they left the campus.
Both of the students who were shot were being held at the hospital, and one of them might need surgery, said Dr. Michael Lemon, trauma medical director at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
Still, both students were in fair condition and could be released as early as Friday. One of the students had wounds in two limbs and might have been shot twice, he said.
“It’s an absolute blessing” that they weren’t hurt worse, Lemon said. The adult was treated and released for a bullet wound that went through an extremity, the doctor said.
Schools would be closed districtwide to give students time to be with their families, and counselors would be available starting Friday, said Jefferson School District Superintendent Chad Martin.
“This is the worst nightmare a school district could ever face. We prepare for it,” Martin said, “but you’re never truly prepared.”
Police said they were investigating the motive for the attack and where the girl got the gun. She is from the nearby city of Idaho Falls. Her name has not been released.
“We don’t have a lot of details at this time of ‘why’ — that is being investigated,” Sheriff Anderson said. “We’re following all leads.”
Authorities responded to reports of gunfire and students were evacuated to a nearby high school.
“Then there was screaming. Our teacher went to check it out, and he found blood.”
Dr Michael Lemon, from the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Centre, told a news conference the adult was treated for a bullet wound and released on Thursday.
He said the two students, both considered to be in a fair condition, were being held overnight. One might require surgery.
“It’s an absolute blessing [that they weren’t more seriously injured],” Dr Lemon said.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Mark Taylor told the AP decisions about criminal charges wouldn’t be made until the investigation is complete but they might include three counts of attempted murder.
Police tape surrounded the school, which has about 1,500 students in sixth through eighth grades, and small evidence markers were placed next to spots of blood on the ground.
“I am praying for the lives and safety of those involved in today’s tragic events,” Gov. Brad Little said in a statement. “Thank you to our law enforcement agencies and school leaders for their efforts in responding to the incident.”
The attack appears to be Idaho’s second school shooting. In 1999, a student at a high school in Notus fired a shotgun several times. No one was struck by the gunfire, but one student was injured by ricocheting debris from the first shell.
In 1989, a student at Rigby Junior High pulled a gun, threatened a teacher and students, and took a 14-year-old girl hostage, according to a Deseret News report. Police safely rescued the hostage from a nearby church about an hour later and took the teen into custody. No one was shot in that incident.
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