On Tuesday, a school resource officer at Dixon High School in Dixon, Illinois, shot an armed 19-year-old former student after he opened fire on the officer in the high school gym, where seniors were gathered for graduation practice.
“A 19-year-old former Dixon High student is in custody with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the shoulder after bringing a gun to the school this morning,” Sauk Valley reports.
According to Sheriff John Simonton, school resource officer Mark Dallas confronted the shooter in the high school gym, where the students were gathered for graduation practice, at around 8 a.m., and returned fire after being fired upon. WGN-TV reports that the suspect fired multiple rounds.
“The officer was not injured, nor was anyone else,” said City Administrator Danny Langloss, whose daughter was one of the seniors gathered in the gym.
“The shooting happened in the gym, where seniors, whose last day of school was Friday, were gathered for graduation practice,” said Langloss. “We’re lucky the officer was there. His brave actions saved a lot of lives.”
All Dixon schools were placed on lockdown while the investigation was being carried out; students were bussed to a safe location where parents have been encouraged to pick up them up.
Sauk Valley reports that Dixon Police believe that “the suspect acted alone and that there is no further threat to the safety of students or staff.”
Reports from local media below:
Responses to the situation from high-profile figures have begun to stream in, including from Sen. Dick Durbin, who decried the “madness,” and Parkland shooting survivor and pro-Second Amendment advocate Kyle Kashuv, who underscored the difference between the response of Officer Dallas and the response of the resource officer who failed to act in Parkland:
UPDATE: The suspect has been identified as a troubled student who was in fact still enrolled at the school but was “working independently out of the principal’s office.” Illinois State Police say he faces three felony counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and may face further charges. He was shot twice, once in his shoulder.
A woman who identified herself as his mother spoke with reporters Wednesday. She described her son as having been “very sad” for a long time, in part because of feeling ostracized and bullied. WGN-TV reports (name of suspect redacted):
The woman said her son was bullied and ostracized at school, and was beaten up in October. Officials initially described [the suspect] as a former student, but the woman said [he] still attended Dixon High School, where he worked independently out of the principal’s office. He was slated to attend graduation rehearsal Wednesday, the woman said, but instead showed up with a gun.
She told reporters that she does not keep a gun in her house and does not know how he obtained the weapon.