Police killed student outside Wisconsin school after reports of someone with a weapon, official says

MOUNT HOREB, ​​Wis. (AP) — Police shot and killed a student outside a Wisconsin middle school Wednesday after receiving a report of someone with a weapon, the state’s attorney general said during law enforcement’s first briefing on the shooting that sent children fleeing and prompted an hours-long lockdown of local schools.

Authorities previously said an active shooter who never entered the building was “neutralized” outside Mount Horeb Middle School. State Attorney General Josh Kaul told reporters Wednesday evening that no one else was injured and that an investigation was underway.

“This incident happened outdoors. The subject in this case has never been discussed,” he said.

Authorities described the student as a young man, but did not say his age or which school in the Mount Horeb district he attended.

Kaul declined to answer several questions about what happened once police responded, including whether the student fired a weapon, what type of weapon he owned and whether he attempted to gain entry in school. Authorities said several Mount Horeb officers, wearing body cameras, fired weapons, but they did not say how many.

Police remained at the scene several hours later while the students were locked in buildings late in the afternoon before being gradually released to their loved ones.

For the panicked children and their terrified parents, it was an anxious and unsettling wait. Parents described their children hiding in closets, afraid to communicate on their cell phones, and one middle school student said his class first fled the school gymnasium on rollerblades.

The district used Facebook posts throughout the day to give updates, with the first around 11:30 a.m. reporting that all schools in the district were closed. Mount Horeb authorities said the “suspected attacker” was the only person injured, and witnesses described hearing gunshots and seeing dozens of children running.

Several hours later, school buses remained lined up for blocks in front of the middle school and police tape surrounded the middle school, the neighboring high school and the playgrounds between the two buildings.

“An initial search of the college did not reveal any other suspects,” said a message published around noon. “Equally important, we have no reports of any individuals being injured, other than the alleged attacker. »

Earlier, the district released, without specifying, that “the threat was neutralized outside the building” in Mount Horeb, a small village about 25 miles west of the state capital of Madison .

Jeanne Keller said she heard five gunshots while she was in her store The Quilting Jeanne, right next to the college.

“It was maybe like a pow-pow-pow-pow,” Keller told The Associated Press by telephone. “I thought it was fireworks. I came out and saw all the kids running…I probably saw 200 kids.

A middle school student said his class was in the school gym practicing rollerblading when they heard gunshots.

Max Kelly, 12, said his teacher told the class to run. He said they skated to a street, ditched their rollerblades and ran to a nearby convenience store and gas station and hid in a bathroom.

Kelly, shoeless, found his parents and sat on a hillside with them early Wednesday afternoon, waiting for his younger siblings to be released from their own schools.

“I don’t think any place is safe anymore,” said his mother, Alison Kelly, 32.

Mount Horeb police said they could not provide information in the hours that followed. The Dane County Sheriff’s Office directed reporters to a staging area, but provided no updates either.

Anxious parents spent hours crowded into a bus depot waiting for their children. Kaul said law enforcement was concerned about the possibility of a continuing threat, although he did not provide further details. He said investigators were looking to interview the students as they reunited with their parents.

Shannon Hurd, 44, and her estranged husband, Nathian Hurd, 39, were waiting for their 13-year-old son, Noah, who was still in the locked school.

Shannon Hurd said Noah texted her saying he loved her and she nearly fell down the stairs at her work as she rushed to school.

“I just want my child,” she said. “They’re supposed to be safe at school.”

Stacy Smith, 42, was at the bank Wednesday when she saw police cars rushing by and received a text warning about an active shooter.

At first, she couldn’t reach her two children – Abbi, the junior, and Cole, in seventh grade. Eventually, she contacted Abbi by phone, but the girl whispered to her that she was hiding in a closet and couldn’t speak. She eventually contacted the two and learned that they were okay.

“Not here,” she said in disbelief. “You hear about this everywhere else but not here.”

Schools across the country have sought ways to prevent mass shootings within their walls, from physical security measures and active shooter drills to technology including detailed digital maps. Many also rely on teachers and administrators working to detect early signs of student mental health issues.

Mount Horeb Area School District Superintendent Steve Salerno suggested that without recent security improvements, “this could have been a much worse tragedy.” He said students immediately informed school staff that they had seen someone suspicious outside the building, but did not provide details.

“It’s an experience that you pray to God every day and that you’re never obligated to participate in,” Salerno told reporters.

The village is home to approximately 7,600 residents and is home to the central office of outdoor equipment retailer Duluth Trading Company. Mount Horeb bills itself as the “troll capital of the world,” a reference to the troll sculptures stationed in its city center.


Associated Press journalists Corey Williams in Detroit and Rick Callahan in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

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