Police: Dennis Intermediate shooter had plan of action, wanted to ’cause maximum damage’

RICHMOND, Ind. – Indiana State Police held a press conference Tuesday to provide an update over a middle school shooting that occurred in Richmond late last year.

On Dec. 13, police said a 14-year-old boy took his own life after exchanging gunfire with officers at Dennis Intermediate School. No other students were injured in the incident.

During the presser, ISP Capt. David Bursten provided a timeline of events surrounding the incident, starting when the teen’s mother first called 911. She reported that her son had taken her boyfriend at the time hostage at gunpoint and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t drive him to the school.

Once the teen arrived at the school, police say he spotted officers, exited the vehicle and entered the building by shooting out the glass of a door.

Police say the teen then began to shoot at officers from a stairwell in the school. At the same time, police say Principal Nichole Vandervort monitored security cameras and provided updates to a 911 dispatcher who relayed the information to officers at the scene.

“Her actions very likely saved police officers from being killed or wounded,” said police.

Officers fired shots back at the teen, but police say the gunfire didn’t strike him and the shooter died from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Although the shooter’s mother says she believes her son had been bullied, Capt. Bursten said bullying wasn’t a relevant factor in the investigation. He also said detectives don’t believe the teen targeted a specific person.

“I’m comfortable telling you that his intent was to cause maximum damage and harm,” said Capt. Bursten.

Bursten also discussed what the shooter had with him at the time of the incident, including a rifle, a pistol, ammunition, water bottles filled with gasoline, rags for makeshift Molotov cocktails, Mountain Dew, and a handwritten plan of action for what he wanted to do once in the school.

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