Sunday 24 June 2018

Science teacher tackled US school shooting suspect, says witness

The suspect is believed to have acted alone at Noblesville West Middle School, in suburban Indianapolis.

The scene near Noblesville High School after the shooting (Kelly Wilkinson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)
The scene near Noblesville High School after the shooting (Kelly Wilkinson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

By Rick Callahan, Associated Press

A male student armed with two handguns opened fire at a suburban Indianapolis middle school on Friday, wounding another student and a teacher before being taken into custody, authorities said.

Seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker said his science teacher had confronted the youth, who he said pulled out a gun and opened fire while the class was taking a test.

“Our science teacher immediately ran at him, swatted a gun out of his hand and tackled him to the ground,” Ethan said. “If it weren’t for him, more of us would have been injured for sure.”

The attack at Noblesville West Middle School happened at around 9am, police chief Kevin Jowitt said at a news conference. He said the suspect asked to be excused from class before returning with the guns, and investigators believe he acted alone.

“We do know the situation resolved extremely quickly,” Mr Jowitt said.

There was no information released on the identities or conditions of the victims, who were taken to hospitals in Indianapolis.

Indiana University Health spokeswoman Danielle Sirilla said the teacher was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital and the wounded student was taken to Riley Hospital for Children. She did not know the seriousness of their injuries.

The attack comes a week after an attack at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, that killed eight students and two teachers, and months after the school attack that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida. The Florida attack inspired students from that school and others throughout the country to call for more restrictions on access to guns.

After the Indiana attack, students were bused to the Noblesville High School gym, where hundreds of parents and other family members arrived to retrieve them.

Eighth-grader Chris Navarro said he was inside an auditorium when he heard several gunshots about a minute before the bell rang for the change in classes.

“The speaker came on and said we were on lockdown and people rushed in and we went to the back of the room. I went into this little room in the back with three other people,” he said.

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Emergency services outside Noblesville West Middle School (Robert Scheer/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

Jennifer Morris, who was among the worried parents who rushed to collect their children, said she was at work when her 14-year-old son sent a text message about the shooting.

“He said, ‘I’m OK, please come get me.’ That was probably 20 minutes after it happened,” she said. “It’s like a bad dream. I don’t know how you get the kids through this. This isn’t something you’re trained for as a parent.”

Governor Eric Holcomb, who was returning from a trip to Europe on Friday, issued a statement saying he and other state leaders were getting updates about the situation and that 100 state police officers had been made available to work with local law enforcement.

“Our thoughts are with all those affected by this horrible situation,” Mr Holcomb said.

Press Association

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