A sixth-grade girl brought a gun to an eastern Idaho middle school on Thursday, shooting two students and a school employee before a teacher disarmed her, according to local police. The girl, whose name has not been released, is now in police custody.
“This is the worst nightmare a school district could ever face,” Jefferson School District Superintendent Chad Martin said at a Thursday news conference. “We prepare for it, but we’re never truly ready for it. Our hearts, our prayers, go out to the victims and their families, and all those involved.”
The three victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries and are in stable condition. None of their names have been released.
“Me and my classmate were just in class with our teacher — we were doing work — and then all of a sudden, here was a loud noise and then there were two more loud noises. Then there was screaming,” 12-year-old Yandel Rodriguez told the Associated Press. “Our teacher went to check it out, and he found blood.”
One of the injured people was an adult school custodian, Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said, who has since been released, while the student patients will remain in hospital overnight.
“This is a very difficult and trying time for our community,” Mr Anderson told reporters on Thursday afternoon.
The suspected shooter resides in Idaho Falls, Idaho, but goes to school in Rigby, police said.
The incident began around nine in the morning, and police said the girl shot people in a hallway and outside the school building.
“We don’t have a lot of details as to why,” Mr Anderson continued. “That is being investigated. We’re following all leads.”
The FBI, as well as state and local police in Idaho are investigating the shooting.
Jefferson County’s Mark Taylor said that the shooter could possibly face three counts of attempted murder, pending investigation.
When the shooting began, students were evacuated from Rigby Middle School to a neighbouring high school. They sheltered in a gymnasium.
Sheriff’s deputies, paramedics, and fire department personnel were on the scene evacuating the school and treating the injured.
Parents reported to local media that their children began texting them once shots were fired and Rigby Middle and High School, across the street from each other, went into lockdown.
Prior to the incident, local law enforcement and students had both regularly trained for what to do in the event of a school shooting.
Idaho officials said they are monitoring the situation.
Governor Brad Little said on Thursday he was “praying for the lives and safety of those involved” in a tweet on Thursday.
“I am monitoring the heartbreaking events in Rigby today and my heart goes out to all of those involved in this tragedy,” Idaho congressman Mike Simpson tweeted. “To the first responders and our heroic teachers and faculty who are keeping our children safe, thank you.”
Rigby is a small town of a few thousand about an hour’s drive from Yellowstone National Park, and was the site of a violent incident in 1989 when a student at Rigby Junior High pulled out a gun, threatened classmates, and took a teen girl hostage.
Thursday’s shooting was believed to be only the second school shooting in Idaho’s history.
Prior to the Rigby incident, there have been at least six school shootings in 2021, already nearly equalling 2020’s total of 10, according to Education Week, though those numbers are well below pre-pandemic levels.
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