Of­fi­cer shoots armed for­mer stu­dent at Illi­nois high school

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - NEWS -

DIXON, ILL. » A po­lice of­fi­cer at a north­ern Illi­nois high school was hailed as a hero Wed­nes­day for shoot­ing and ar­rest­ing a for­mer stu­dent who fired on him in a hall­way while staff and se­niors were meet­ing for a grad­u­a­tion re­hearsal.

The 19-year-old for­mer Dixon High School stu­dent suf­fered wounds that weren’t life threat­en­ing, ac­cord­ing to po­lice, who didn’t re­lease his name. The school re­source of­fi­cer, Mark Dallas, took the gun­man into cus­tody af­ter shoot­ing him.

“He saved an enor­mous amount of lives,” Lee County Sher­iff John Si­mon­ton said. His com­ments were echoed by Illi­nois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who in a state­ment cred­ited “Dallas for his brav­ery and quick ac­tion to im­me­di­ately dif­fuse a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion.”

The shoot­ing hap­pened shortly af­ter 8 a.m. while staff and stu­dents were gath­ered for a grad­u­a­tion re­hearsal.

Po­lice Chief Steven Howell, Jr., told re­porters that the of­fi­cer called to re­port that he’d spot­ted an armed male at the school. He said the of­fi­cer con­fronted the for­mer stu­dent near the school’s west gym and, as he ran af­ter him, the sus­pect fired sev­eral shots at the of­fi­cer.

Howell said the of­fi­cer re­turned fire, shot the sus­pect and took him into cus­tody. Nei­ther the of­fi­cer nor any­one else at the school was in­jured. Po­lice said they be­lieve the gun­man acted alone and that there was no fur­ther threat to any­one in the area. Howell de­clined to dis­cuss why the for­mer stu­dent brought a gun to the school.

“I could not be more proud of the po­lice of­fi­cer and the way he re­sponded to the sit­u­a­tion. With shots ring­ing out through the hall­ways of the school, he charged to­wards the sus­pect and con­fronted him, head on,” Howell said. “Be­cause of his heroic ac­tions, count­less lives were saved. We are for­ever in­debted to him for his ser­vice and his brav­ery.”

When po­lice searched the school they found that the fac­ulty and stu­dents had bar­ri­caded them­selves in­side by block­ing the class­room door­ways with desks, chairs and other fur­ni­ture — just as they had been trained to do.

“A lot of things went right to­day and many things could have gone wrong,” Dixon Mayor Lian­dro Arel­lano Jr., told re­porters at a news con­fer­ence out­side the school.

Of­fi­cials said all schools in the city about 80 miles (130 kilo­me­ters) west of Chicago were placed on lock­down in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the shoot­ing. The other schools re­opened af­ter of­fi­cials de­ter­mined the gun­man acted alone.

RACHEL ROGERS — SAUK VAL­LEY ME­DIA VIA AP

An emer­gency ve­hi­cle ap­pears out­side Dixon High School Wed­nes­day in Dixon, Ill. Of­fi­cials say a po­lice of­fi­cer has shot and wounded a gun­man at a north­ern Illi­nois high school.

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