National News

Teacher and Student Wounded in Indiana School Shooting; Gunman Detained

Posted May 25, 2018 8:43 p.m. EDT
Updated May 25, 2018 8:47 p.m. EDT

A student at an Indiana middle school barged into a class Friday morning wielding two handguns and firing shots. A teacher and another student were wounded. The boy with the guns, authorities say, was subdued, then arrested. And on a sunny day that began with the promise of a holiday weekend, yet another American city was left to cope with classroom bloodshed.

“Here we go again, and it’s just really, really, really unfortunate,” said Douglas G. Carter, superintendent of the Indiana State Police. “I wish I had the answer.”

The shooting Friday, at Noblesville West Middle School in suburban Indianapolis, came a week after 10 people were fatally shot at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, an episode that revived a national debate about gun rights. It came nine days after a police officer in Illinois shot a gunman who interrupted a high school graduation rehearsal. And it came about three months after 17 people were massacred at a school in Parkland, Florida.

“We’ve had these shootings around the country — you just never think it could happen in Noblesville, Indiana,” Mayor John Ditslear said Friday afternoon. “But it did. Our people were prepared.”

Many details of the Noblesville shooting remained unclear, but authorities said a swift response by school employees and police officers likely saved lives. The boy was disarmed, was not injured and was kept near a single classroom, police said. Neither his name nor his age was released, and no charges had been announced by Friday afternoon.

Chief Kevin Jowitt of the Noblesville police said officers received a call of a shooting at the school just after 9 a.m. A student asked to be excused from class, then returned with the two guns, Jowitt said. A police officer was assigned to the school building and immediately went toward the site of the shooting, the authorities said.

The injured girl, who was not named, remained in critical condition Friday evening. The police identified the injured teacher as Jason Seaman, 29, a football coach and seventh-grade teacher who was once a defensive lineman on the Southern Illinois University football team, called the Salukis. He was listed in good condition Friday night.

The shooting brought out the angst, outrage and outpouring of well-wishes that have become painfully familiar. Dozens of police officers and federal agents swarmed to the scene, about 30 miles north of downtown Indianapolis. Gov. Eric Holcomb said around 100 Indiana state troopers were available to assist. Members of Congress sent expressions of sympathy and, in some cases, calls for policy changes.

“Every time something like this occurs, we pray it will be the last,” Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., said in a statement. “But that is unlikely to be the case until Congress takes meaningful action.”

Rep. Susan W. Brooks, R-Ind., whose district includes Noblesville, called for coming together as a community and supporting victims in a series of Twitter messages.

“My prayers are w/the Noblesville community, especially those who are injured & those who witnessed an active shooter situation, something no one should ever have to go through. Especially children,” Brooks wrote.

Vice President Mike Pence, who was governor of Indiana before he joined the administration, praised the police response in a message on Twitter.

Local authorities warned that the investigation would take several days. Prosecutors said a hearing in juvenile court was possible as early as Tuesday.

Among questions that remained unanswered Friday: How was the student with the guns stopped? Where did the guns come from? And was there a specific target?

Lt. Bruce Barnes of the Noblesville police said several search warrants had been issued in connection with the case.

“We ask for your prayers for the victims in this case,” Barnes said, including “all these other kids that are trying to make sense of this situation.”