A sixth-grade girl brought a gun to her college in Idaho and shot and injured three people before being disarmed by a teacher, authorities said Thursday. Two students and a guard were shot in the extremities and were expected to survive, officials said.
Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said the girl pulled a handgun from her backpack and repeatedly shot in and outside Rigby Middle School in the small town of Rigby, about 95 miles southwest of Yellowstone National Park.
A teacher disarmed the girl and detained her until law enforcement arrived and detained her, authorities said. They did not provide further details. Authorities said they were investigating the motive for the attack and where the girl obtained the gun.
The suspect is from the nearby town of Idaho Falls, Anderson said. He did not disclose his name.
Dr Michael Lemon, trauma medical director at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, said the injured adult was treated and released for a gunshot wound in one extremity. The bullet passed cleanly through the limb, he said.
The two students who were shot were held in hospital overnight, and one of them may need surgery, Lemon said. Still, the two students were in fairly good shape. One of the students had injuries to both limbs and could have been shot twice, he said.
Police were called to the school at around 9.15 a.m. after students and staff heard gunshots. Several law enforcement agencies responded and the students were evacuated to a nearby high school to be reunited with their parents.
“My classmate and I were just in class with our teacher – we were doing some homework – and then all of a sudden there was a loud noise and then there were two more loud noises. screams, “12-year-old Yandel Rodriguez said. “Our teacher went to check, and he found blood.”
Yandel’s mother, Adela Rodriguez, said they were fine but “still a little shaky” from the shooting when they left campus.
“Today we had the worst nightmare a school district could encounter,” said Jefferson School District Principal Chad Martin.
Martin said schools would be closed across the district to give students time to be with their families, but counselors would be available from Friday morning.
Rigby Middle School has about 1,500 students in grades six to eight, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
“I pray for the lives and safety of those involved in today’s tragic events,” Governor Brad Little said in a prepared statement. “Thank you to our law enforcement and school leaders for their efforts in response to the incident.”
A police tape surrounded the college and small evidence markers were placed next to bloodstains on the floor. The investigators interviewed professors and staff members individually.
Lucy Long, a sixth-grader at Rigby Middle School, told the Idaho Falls Post Register newspaper that her classroom was closed after hearing gunshots, with lights and computers turned off and students lined up against the wall .
Lucy comforted her friends and started recording on her phone, so the police would know what was happening if the shooter entered. The audio contained mostly whispers, with an audible phrase: “This is real,” a student said.
Lucy said she saw blood on the hallway floor when the police escorted them out of the classroom.
The attack appears to be the second school shooting in Idaho. In 1999, a high school student in Notus fired a shotgun several times. No one was hit by the gunfire, but a student was injured by debris ricocheting from the first shell.
In 1989, a student at Rigby Junior High drew a gun, threatened a teacher and students and took a 14-year-old girl hostage, according to a Deseret News report. Police safely rescued the hostage from a nearby church about an hour later and took the teenager into custody. No one was shot dead in this incident.