Michigan school officials are reviewing actions taken in the weeks before a shooter opened fire, wounding nine children and killing two staff members at an elementary school in rural Michigan, amid allegations of possible collusion between police and the school’s own armed security.
Police released new details about events that unfolded at Noblesville West Middle School on Thursday, which officials described as a shooting that could have been much worse.
Full coverage: mass shooting at Noblesville West Middle School Read more
In videos captured by students, police in body armour rushed students to safety. Students at the school were ushered inside a gymnasium, where teachers managed to get many of them under desks until help arrived.
Officials said some kids were bleeding. One student said she saw a classmate being shot.
School personnel members, including the school’s principal, Janet Robinson, are being put through background checks and will undergo training on how to deal with mass shootings, because there has been “some suggestion” that some actions taken on the day of the shooting could have led to a tragedy, said Roy Kutz, superintendent of the Noblesville school district.
Seven of the students injured were in critical condition, officials said. A sixth-grader was in serious condition, and an eighth-grader was in fair condition on Friday, IU Health Methodist Hospital said.
A state senator, Joe Hunter, said he has been told by sources that officials from the school and local police departments were involved in coordinating the operation. The lack of security at the school, Hunter said, could have escalated the situation.
Three teachers from the school were credited with taking down the shooter, 14-year-old student Alex Hribal.
Staff members are now receiving training on how to deal with mass shootings, at school and beyond, said Roy Kutz, superintendent of the Noblesville school district. Photograph: Michael Conroy/AP
Police in neighboring towns helped apprehend the suspect, who they say opened fire in the school’s library, killing a teacher, Jason Seaman, who died of injuries in a hospital. Authorities said the suspect then took his own life.
“This is a very tragic event,” said Indiana police chief Michael Troyer, the agency’s public information officer. “And we just need to pray for these families and move forward.”
The school was closed Friday and scheduled to reopen on Monday. A line of cars, including many from out of town, formed outside a nearby police checkpoint as people were screened for identification before entering. A triage area was set up at the entrance and students were laid out on blankets.
Before his death, Seaman was the head wrestling coach at the school and a substitute teacher. His parents confirmed that he died after being shot while serving as a first-grade teacher.
“We appreciate all the support that the community has shown through out this tragic event,” said Kim Korn, the family’s attorney.
Alexander Hribal, 14, the suspect in the Noblesville shooting, is pictured in this undated photo obtained by Reuters 14 December 2018. Photograph: Social Media/Reuters
Authorities gave no motive and said they had not identified the other victim. Seaman’s funeral was planned for Monday. School officials said a memorial fund has been set up in Seaman’s name and information on how to donate can be found on the district’s website.
Authorities described the suspect as a student who had transferred to the school recently and acted alone. They said he had no criminal record.
Michigan State Police Col Ron Replogle said the students who were shot are all eighth-graders and Hribal was in 7th grade. Some students have asked why a teacher died while others survived.
“We will answer those questions. We will get those answers out for them,” Troyer said.