A sixth-grade girl was identified as the person who opened fire at an Idaho middle school on Thursday, injuring two students and a custodian before she was disarmed by a teacher, authorities said.
The incident happened at Rigby Middle School in Rigby. All the three victims were shot in their extremities and are expected to survive, police said at a news conference.
According to police, a teacher took the courage and went up to the girl and disarmed and restrained her until police arrived, officials said, without elaborating much. The suspect has since been in custody and hasn't been named given that she is a juvenile.
The active shooting incident began at Rigby Middle School, about 95 miles southwest of Yellowstone National Park around 9 am on Thursday morning when a student opened fire at teachers and students. Multiple rounds were fired both inside and outside the school which could be heard from a distance, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson.
According to police, a girl student pulled a handgun from her bookbag and opened fire. Both teachers and students panicked and started running to save their lives. However, a female teachers showed courage and somehow managed to go up to the student risking her life. The girl was disarmed by the teacher, who restrained her until police arrived, officials said.
Police hasn't named the girl but unidentified her as sixth grader from the nearby city of Idaho Falls. According to EastIdahoNews.com, the suspect was first incorrectly identified by law enforcement as being male.
As the girl opened fire, teachers and later the police evacuated the students to a nearby high school. Around 1,500 kids are enrolled in the middle school. Authorities said they are investigating the motive for the attack and where the girl got the gun.
What's the Motive?
The sudden attack has left many students still reeling under fears. Although there were no casualties, the shooting could have been fatal, had the female teacher not disarmed and restrained the sixth grader. Emotional parents and children were seen hugging and embracing as they were reunited at the high school.
Dr. Michael Lemon, trauma medical director at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, said one injured adult was treated and released for a bullet wound in an extremity. The bullet went cleanly through the limb, he said.
Another student too was shot in the leg and both were being held at the hospital overnight. Lemon said that one of the students might need surgery. "Me and my classmate were just in class with our teacher — we were doing work — and then all of a sudden, there was a loud noise and then there were two more loud noises. Then there was screaming," 12-year-old Yandel Rodriguez said. "Our teacher went to check it out, and he found blood."
Lucy Long, another sixth-grader at Rigby Middle School, told the Post Register newspaper in Idaho Falls that her classroom went into lockdown after they heard gunshots, with lights and computers turned off and students lined up against the wall.
The incident has also left the school and the school district shocked. "Today we had the worst nightmare a school district could encounter," Jefferson School District Superintendent Chad Martin said.
Martin said schools would be closed district-wide to give students time to be with families, but that counselors would be available starting Friday morning. This isn't the first shooting incident in a Rigby school. In 1989, a Rigby student held a teenager hostage at gunpoint, but police deescalated the situation before anyone was hurt.