17-year-old kills sixth grader and wounds five others in Iowa school shooting police say
Authorities say a 17-year-old student with a shotgun and a handgun opened fire at a small-town Iowa high school, killing a sixth-grader and wounding five others
A 17-year-old opened fire at a small-town Iowa high school before classes resumed on the first day after the winter break, killing a sixth-grader and wounding five others Thursday as students barricaded in offices, ducked into classrooms and fled in panic.
The suspect, a student at the school in Perry, died of what investigators believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound, an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation official said. Authorities said one of the five people wounded was an administrator, later identified by his alma mater as Perry High School Principal Dan Marburger.
Authorities identified the shooter as Dylan Butler, 17, and provided no information about a possible motive. Two friends and their mother who spoke with The Associated Press said Butler was a quiet person who had been bullied for years.
Perry has about 8,000 residents and is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of Des Moines, on the edge of the state capital’s metropolitan area. It is home to a large pork-processing plant and low-slung, single-story homes spread among trees now shorn of their leaves by winter.
Authorities said Butler had a pump-action shotgun and a small-caliber handgun. Mitch Mortvedt, the state investigation division’s assistant director, said during a news conference that authorities also found a “pretty rudimentary” improvised explosive device and rendered it safe.
A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said federal and state investigators are interviewing Butler’s friends and analyzing Butler’s social media profiles, including posts on TikTok and Reddit, as they work to identify a motive.
Shortly before Thursday’s shooting, Butler posted a photo on TikTok inside the bathroom of Perry High School, the official said. Investigators have also found other photos Butler posted posing with firearms, according to the official.
“And then we hear ‘He’s down. You can go out,’” Augustus said through tears. ”And I run and you can just see glass everywhere, blood on the floor.
Mortvedt said one person was in critical condition but the injuries didn’t appear to be life-threatening. The others were stable, he said.
Hundreds of community members gathered for a candlelight prayer vigil Thursday evening at a park. Bundled up against freezing temperatures, they listened to pastors from many faiths and heard a message of hope in both English and Spanish.
Gov. Kim Reynolds said: “This senseless tragedy has shaken our entire state to its core.”
In Washington, President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland were briefed on the shooting.
The shooting occurred ahead of Iowa’s Jan. 15 first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy had a 9 a.m. campaign event scheduled in Perry about 1 1/2 miles (2.4 kilometers) from the school. But canceled it to hold a prayer and intimate discussion with area residents.
Mass shootings across the U.S. have long brought calls for stricter gun laws from gun safety advocates, and Thursday’s did within hours. But that idea has been a non-starter for many Republicans, particularly in rural, GOP-leaning states like Iowa.
As of July 2021, Iowa does not require a permit to purchase a handgun or carry a firearm in public. Though it mandates a background check for anyone buying a handgun without a permit.
Ramaswamy said the shooting is a sign of a “psychological sickness” in the country. In Des Moines, GOP rival and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said gun violence “is more of a local and state issue”. In an interview with the Des Moines Register and NBC News.
The high school is part of the 1,785-student Perry Community School District. Perry is more diverse than Iowa as a whole. Census figures show 31% of its residents are Hispanic, compared to less than 7% statewide. Those figures also show nearly 19% of the town’s residents were born outside the U.S.
Authorities said officers arrived within minutes after an active shooter was reported at 7:37 a.m. Thursday. Emergency vehicles surrounded the complex.
“Officers immediately attempted to locate the source of the threat and quickly found.
Rachael Kares, an 18-year-old senior, was wrapping up jazz band practice. When she and her bandmates heard four gunshots, spaced apart.
“We all just jumped,” Kares said. “My band teacher looked at us and yelled, ‘Run!’ So we ran.”
Kares and many others scrambled out past the football field, as people yelled, “Get out! Get out!” She said she heard additional shots as she ran, but didn’t know how many. She was more concerned about getting home to her 3-year-old son.
Kevin Shelley, who drives a garbage truck, told his boss he had to run.
He added: “I am still shaking and tho I dont show it I’m not OK.”