(Reuters) – A student armed with two handguns shot a teacher and another student at a school in Indiana on Friday, and media reports said the teacher swatted away the shooter’s guns and wrestled him to the ground, protecting others in the classroom.
The incident at Noblesville West Middle School was the latest in a series of shootings at U.S. schools and colleges fueling debate about how to keep campuses safe.
The suspect had excused himself from class and came back armed with the pistols and opened fire in a science class, authorities said. Police apprehended him in the classroom.
“We do know the situation resolved extremely quickly,” Noblesville Police Chief Kevin Jowitt told reporters about the shooting at the school, which has about 1,350 students.
Police did not provide details on the incident or release the names of anyone involved in the shooting at the school about 25 miles (42 km) northeast of Indianapolis.
But witnesses told local media a 13-old-girl was shot and that science teacher Jason Seaman knocked the guns away and wrestled the suspect to the floor despite being wounded.
There was no immediate word on the condition of the student. But the teacher’s mother, Kristi Seaman, said on Facebook that he was shot through the abdomen, in the hip and in the forearm and was doing well after surgery.
Seaman himself thanked police and medics and said he was “doing great” in a separate statement. “To all the students you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach.”
The Indianapolis Star newspaper said Seaman was the 29-year-old married father of a toddler son and a one-month-old daughter.
Student Austin Duncan told local broadcaster WTTV that occupants of his classroom barricaded a door and huddled together in a panic while a teacher grabbed a baseball bat for protection.
“All of us were crying, texting our loved ones, texting our friends,” Duncan said.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said about 100 State Police had been made available to work with local authorities.
“This is as close to a textbook response as it could have been,” he said at a news conference.
The shooting occurred a week after a high school student in Santa Fe, Texas, shot and killed eight classmates and two teachers.
The killing of 17 students and staff in a February shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sparked a youth-led movement calling for restrictions on gun ownership.
After Friday’s shooting, Carly Novel, a Marjory Stoneman student, tweeted: “Noblesville Middle School students I am so sorry. You are too young. We all are.”
Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, Ben Klayman in Detroit and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; additional reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Tom Brown and Jonathan Oatis