Weekend Reads: Waukesha officer shoots Waukesha South student who wouldn't drop gun, officials say - - PressFrom - Canada
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Weekend Reads Waukesha officer shoots Waukesha South student who wouldn't drop gun, officials say

22:31  02 december  2019
22:31  02 december  2019 Source:   jsonline.com

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WAUKESHA - A school resource officer inside Waukesha South High School shot a 17-year-old student who pulled a gun in a classroom and refused to drop it, according to police.

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The suspect is in custody and the building is safe and secure, police said.

The student with the gun was the only person injured in the incident.

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The student brought the gun to school, school officials tell the Journal Sentinel.

Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack said at a Monday news conference a student reported at 10:07 a.m. a male student was reported to have brought a handgun to school and was in possession of it. The school resource officer responded to the classroom and secured the classroom while getting other students to safety.

a group of people that are talking on a cell phone: Waukesha South High School students find their waiting parents and friends and hug after they leave the building following shots fired inside the school, on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019.© Rick Wood / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Waukesha South High School students find their waiting parents and friends and hug after they leave the building following shots fired inside the school, on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019.

Other police officers responded to the school and communicated with the suspect "in an attempt to deescalate the situation," Jack said.

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Jack said the suspect would not remove his hands from his pocket and continued to ignore officers’ commands. The suspect then removed the handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the officers, Jack said. The officer then discharged his gun, striking the suspect. Officers provided lifesaving medical attention to the student.

The remaining students were evacuated from the classroom and the school was put on lockdown.

Jack said the officer who fired his gun is an 11-year veteran of the department.

Student accounts

A sophomore at the school told the Journal Sentinel that he was in the hallway outside of his Spanish class with his teacher and other students, hanging posters.

"These kids start running out from the classroom directly across from us, and one of them goes 'he's got a gun.'

"With the teacher being out there, I was glad she was out there, she just got us into the classroom right away, so we were in lockdown before they even announced it."

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a group of people standing in a parking lot: Law enforcement stages outside Waukesha South High School after reports of shots fired inside the school, on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019.© Bill Glauber / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Law enforcement stages outside Waukesha South High School after reports of shots fired inside the school, on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019.

The student said about 20 minutes later when the lockdown was happening "we heard three gunshots, shook the whole room -- it was one then two directly right after it."

The school went on lockdown around 10 a.m., according to an email to parents from a district official. Students will be let out of school at 11:15 a.m. The nearby Whittier Elementary School, 1103 S. East Ave., just west of the high school, also went into lockdown. It was lifted around 10:50 a.m. after police gave the school the "all clear."

The email said students were cleared from the hallways and in locked classrooms after a school resource officer received information that a student had a gun.

Police went to the classroom where the student who was suspected to have a gun.

"We appreciate all the quick response by the staff and students," the email said. "The safety and security of all students and staff are a top priority."

a group of people walking down the street: Parents gather outside Waukesha South High School moments before the school began releasing students at 11:15 a.m. Monday.© Jim Riccioli/Now News Group Parents gather outside Waukesha South High School moments before the school began releasing students at 11:15 a.m. Monday.

A student who said she was inside the school wrote in an email to the Journal Sentinel that students were put in a lockdown drill at 10 a.m.

"When that occurs we hide in the corners and turn off the lights and lock the doors. Minutes later we heard screaming and then heard 2 gunshots.

"They were right next to my classroom so we all went into shock even my teacher hid with us. We stayed down for like 20 minutes and the actual lockdown sound went out. Our police officer went on the speaker and said to stay on hold and we have been in the classroom ever since," the student wrote just after 11 a.m.

Sophomore Kilie Gall was in the library at the time when other students came in and reported there was someone with a gun in the hallway. Shortly thereafter, the school went on lockdown, she said. She said from the library, students could hear a "thud" and someone said it was a door, but they later learned it was gunfire. Gall said she thought there were three shots fired.

The Milwaukee Area Investigative Team, with the City of Greenfield Police Department as the lead agency, is conducting the investigation, Jack said at a Monday news conference.

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'A superintendent's worst nightmare'

According to emergency radio traffic, the first Waukesha Fire Department units at the scene reported to dispatchers that the patient was conscious, alert and breathing. A fire commander at the scene told other arriving fire/EMS crews that the patient sustained "relatively minor wounds" and that no additional emergency responders were needed.

Emergency radio traffic indicated a command post was set up inside the school.

Police squad cars were blocking all the entrances at the high school and other streets around the school were shut down. Parents gathered outside the school, at Roberta and Tenny avenues, after word started to spread.

"This is clearly a superintendent's worst nightmare," Waukesha Superintendent Todd Gray said.

Gray said the school will resume tomorrow and additional resources will be available.

Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly called it a "terrifying day."

But he added that he is proud of how the school district, police department and fire department responded.

The school announced on its website that an open house scheduled for today has been canceled.

Students were returning to school today after the extended Thanksgiving holiday break.

Church invites students somewhere 'safe'

In the aftermath of Monday’s events, Garrett Johnston, high school pastor at RiverGlen Christian Church in Waukesha, said the church is inviting students to gather at the church.

“RiverGlen is open, if you need a place to come and sit or vent or be somewhere you feel safe and at peace. We’re here for you,” he said. "Being a welcoming place for students will be the church’s first response, but the church may consider additional activities later, he said.

The church draws youth from primarily Waukesha South, North and West, as well as Kettle Moraine.

RiverGlen is at S31 W30691 Sunset Drive, about seven miles west of Waukesha South.

- Jim Riccioli, Bill Glauber, Joe Taschler, Talis Shelbourne, Jesse Garza, Bob Dohr, Jordyn Noennig and Debi Eimer contributed to this report.

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