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Police stopped a potentially deadly shooting at a Jewish school in Memphis on Monday after they shot a gunman they say was attempting to gain entry into the building.
Police said they shot a suspected gunman after he fired his gun at least one time outside of Margolin Hebrew Academy, an Orthodox Jewish day school. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) noted reports of multiple gunshots outside the facility. According to Memphis-area congressman Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), the suspect was Jewish and was previously a student there.
No classes were in attendance when the suspect allegedly fired the gun outside the school.
After he could not gain entry, the suspect left, and staffers called the police and provided a description of the person’s vehicle. He was able to pass through the exterior doors, but could not make it any farther into the school because the interior doors were locked. The suspect also reportedly had a confrontation with a contract worker after which he ended up “retreating” to his vehicle, according to a letter to parents from the school.
Law enforcement caught up with the suspect several miles from the school and shot the gunman when he exited the automobile armed with a gun. The suspect was then transported to a local hospital in critical condition.
“Today is a great example of very alert, vigilant officers trying to protect the city,” Assistant Chief Don Crowe said in comments given to local media. “I personally truly believe we have avoided a tragedy. I think the suspect was going to harm somebody before the day was over.”
“When he could not gain entry, he fired shots outside the school,” Crowe continued. “Thankfully, that school had a great safety procedure in place, and avoided anyone being harmed or injured at that scene.”
In a statement, the school thanked Memphis police for their response to the incident.
“We are shocked and saddened by the events that took place at MHA-FYOS yesterday, and incredibly grateful to God that thanks to our school’s extensive security measures and the swift response by the Memphis Police Department, everyone is safe.”
The TBI is heading up the investigation. No motive for the suspect has been revealed.