Student says science teacher tackled Noblesville school shooter
By RICK CALLAHAN, Associated Press
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A male student opened fire at a suburban Indianapolis middle school Friday morning, wounding another student and a teacher before being taken into custody, authorities said.
Seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker said the science teacher likely prevented even more injuries by confronting the shooter, who he said pulled out a gun and opened fire after walking in late while the class was taking a test.
"Our science teacher immediately ran at him, swatted a gun out of his hand and tackled him to the ground," Stonebraker said. "If it weren't for him, more of us would have been injured for sure."
The attack at Noblesville West Middle School happened around 9 a.m., police Chief Kevin Jowitt said at a news conference. He said investigators believe the suspect acted alone, but didn't detail what happened or the severity of the injuries to the victims, who were taken to hospitals in Indianapolis. The identities of those involved weren't immediately released.
Indiana University Health spokeswoman Danielle Sirilla said the teacher was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital and the wounded student was taken to Riley Hospital for Children. She didn't know the seriousness of their injuries.
The attack comes a week after an attack at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, that killed eight students and two teachers, and months after the school attack that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida. The Florida attack inspired students from that school and others throughout the country to call for more restrictions on access to guns.
After the Indiana attack, students were bused to the Noblesville High School gym, where hundreds of parents and other family members arrived to retrieve them.
Eighth-grader Chris Navarro said he was inside an auditorium when he heard several gunshots about a minute before the bell rang for the change in classes.
"The speaker came on and said we were on lockdown and people rushed in and we went to the back of the room. I went into this little room in the back with three other people," he said calmly standing between his parents as they picked him up.
Erica Higgins, who was among the worried parents who rushed to get their kids, told WTHR-TV that she learned of the shooting from a relative who called her at home.
"I just want to get my arms around my boy," she said.
Higgins said her son was shaken up but knew little about what happened.
"I got a 'Mom, I'm scared' text message and other than that, it was 'come get me at the high school,'" Higgins said.
Gov. Eric Holcomb, who was returning from a trip to Europe on Friday, issued a statement saying he and other state leaders were getting updates about the situation and that 100 state police officers had been made available to work with local law enforcement.
"Our thoughts are with all those affected by this horrible situation," Holcomb said.
Noblesville, which is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Indianapolis, is home to about 50,000 people. The middle school has about 1,300 students from grades 6-8. The school's academic year was scheduled to end next Friday.
Indiana's Senate Democrats issued a statement in response to Friday's school shooting expressing their condolences to the victims and calling for steps to prevent such shootings, including restrictions on guns.
Gov. Eric J. Holcomb offered the following statement on the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School:
“Speaker Bosma, Pro Tem Long and I are monitoring the situation at Noblesville West Middle School from the air on our return trip to Indianapolis from Europe. Approximately 100 state police officers have been made available to work with local responders and will offer all assistance needed. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this horrible situation.”
Superintendent McCormick's statement on the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School
“Today an unfortunate shooting at a school has occurred in Indiana. State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick is in contact with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and is actively monitoring the situation. We have confidence in Noblesville Schools Superintendent Dr. Beth Niedermeyer and her team, law enforcement, and first responders. The Department stands ready to provide guidance and support, and we will provide further statements as information unfolds.”
Congressman Todd Rokita released this statement on the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School:
“Hoosiers are standing strong with the Noblesville community. We continue to pray for and support Noblesville West Middle School and the student and teacher who are currently hospitalized,” said Congressman Todd Rokita. “I commend our first-responders who swiftly and diligently worked together to keep the students and faculty safe."
Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch offered the following statement on the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School:
"My sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to the Noblesville community. Indiana remains committed to the safety and protection of our young people and I can not thank our law enforcement agencies enough for their swift action in this matter."
Attorney General Curtis Hill released the following statement in response to the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School:
“The epidemic of violence sweeping across American schools has now come to Indiana. While we await additional information on the school incident in Noblesville this morning, we must brace ourselves for the reality that our schools and our children are under siege by an unspeakable wave of terror that is taking full advantage of our open and free society.
“School safety plans, resource officers, red flag laws and hardened targets are vital to the defense of our schools and our children. “While we all join in prayer for the victims and their families, we must continue on the path of identifying the best and most comprehensive ways to protect our schools and prevent these tragedies.”