RICHMOND, Ind. — A teenager shot and killed himself at a Richmond middle school Thursday morning, police said.
The district earlier said there “has been an active shooter situation at Dennis Intermediate School. At this time, the building is secure.”
There has been an active shooter situation at Dennis Intermediate School. At this time, the school building is secure.
— WeRrichmond (@wearrrichmond) December 13, 2018
The school is located at 222 NW 7th St. in Richmond. Jeff Lane of Richmond radio station Kicks 96 initially reported one person was dead and that students were safe.
Indiana State Police later confirmed a 14-year-old male suspect died. No other students were hurt. The suspect hasn’t been identified.
Police say they confronted the suspect outside of the school, and the suspect ran inside before exchanging shots with the officers. The shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after shooting out the glass of a locked door, police said.
Police were able to react quickly to the scene because they had received a tip about a possible threat just before the shooting.
“Officers received information this morning that there could possibly be someone en route to commit a violent act at Dennis Intermediate School here in Richmond,” said Sgt. John Bowling with Indiana State Police. “Officers responded rapidly. They did confront a suspect outside the school. Shots were exchanged, and the teen suspect decided to take his own life.”
Bowling said neither students nor officers were injured.
“[No one was hurt] mainly because someone knew something, and they said something,” Bowling said. “They warned police and police were able to respond. The school was able to follow procedures to help protect students.”
Students we spoke with said they would alerted police had they known.
“If I knew my friend was going to do that I’d call the police immediately,” one student said, “Yes, because if not, you’re risking other peoples lives if you know,” said another student.
Per request of the parents, the students will remain anonymous.
Students said they knew exactly what to do when the school went into lockdown. One teen said their last active drill was sometime in the past two months.
“Get in the back of the class, turn off all the light, stay down, be quiet, don’t make a noise,” one student recounted.
Peggy Lewis was in the area at the time of the incident and said she spoke to the suspect’s father.
“He said, ‘No I’m actually his father’ and he was telling me how his son had been bullied and they took him out of school and they thought he was doing well. But he thinks he’s been planning this for a while,” said Lewis. “He just said his son took all of his guns this morning and told him he didn’t take him, wherever, he said if he didn’t take him he was going to kill him too.”
Lane reported that Dennis students were loaded onto buses so they could be moved to Richmond High School. The district said students are being accounted for; once they are, they’ll be reunited with their parents. Parents must report to Civic Hall to pick up their children.
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the scene, including the Richmond Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police, Lane reported. Reid Health trauma services was also at the scene in case the shooting turned into a “mass casualty” situation.
“This is not okay. This is not okay, and rest assured that we- collectively – with the city of Richmond, the police officers here, the Wayne County sheriff’s office, our partners will continue to do all we can do to answer these questions, because that’s what we owe you. That’s what we owe this city and we owe this state,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter.
Dennis Intermediate School will remain closed Friday and Monday, but all other Richmond schools will be open. School officials said in a tweet they understand if parents of children at the other schools would prefer to keep their child at home.
Dennis will not be open for students Fri Dec 14 & Mon Dec 17. All other RCS schools will be open. The event today at Dennis was an isolated incident. We will have extra law enforcement presence at all schools. If you plan to keep your children home tomorrow, we understand. pic.twitter.com/e6bNUYNWvh
— WeRrichmond (@wearrrichmond) December 13, 2018
Gov. Eric Holcomb released a statement about the shooting:
“Earlier this morning, I directed the Indiana State Police to work with all local responders at the shooting at Dennis Intermediate School. We will continue to work with the school and Superintendent Jennifer McCormick to do everything possible to assist the community and support all those impacted by this terrible unfolding situation.”
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick also released a statement:
“Today a shooting at an Indiana school occurred. State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick is in contact with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the Indiana State Police, and Governor Holcomb and is actively monitoring the situation. We have full confidence in Richmond Community Schools’ Superintendent Todd Terrill and his team, law enforcement, and first responders. The Department stands ready to provide guidance and support, and we will provide further statements as information unfolds.”
State Sen. Jeff Raatz, whose district includes Wayne County, called the shooting “frightening” and said his thoughts and prayers were with those affected:
“The incident at Dennis Intermediate School earlier today is frightening, and my prayers and thoughts are with the students and their families, teachers and staff. I am pleased with the work of our law enforcement, who selflessly stepped in to protect our community. My office will continue to monitor the issue as it unfolds.”