Student with gun is shot at by officer in Wisconsin high school, official says

Waukesha South High School students looked for their waiting parents and friends and hugged after they left the building after shots were fired inside the school on Monday.
Waukesha South High School students looked for their waiting parents and friends and hugged after they left the building after shots were fired inside the school on Monday.Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via Associated Press/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP

An officer at a high school in Waukesha, Wis., shot and injured a student who had a gun and pointed it at law enforcement authorities as they were trying to persuade him to hand it over, officials said Monday.

The episode unfolded at Waukesha South High School at 10:17 a.m., after a student informed authorities that another student had a handgun, the chief of the Waukesha Police Department, Russell Jack, said.

As a school resource officer went to the classroom and moved other students to safety, additional law enforcement units were dispatched to the building, he said at a news conference.


Officers tried to talk with the student, a 17-year-old male, but he would not remove his hands from his pockets, and he took the gun from his waistband and pointed it at them, the chief said.

“An officer was forced to discharge his firearm, striking the suspect,” the chief said. It was not clear how many shots were fired.

Terry Schuster, a spokeswoman for the School District of Waukesha, said of the armed student in a telephone interview, “He did not comply to hand over the gun.”

The student was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition, the chief said. No one else was injured, and investigators were not looking for additional suspects. A statement from the Police Department said officers provided “lifesaving” medical treatment to the student.

The officer who fired his gun is an 11-year veteran of the department and appeared to have acted within state statute and departmental policy, Jack said.

The chief and Schuster had no further information about the type of weapon the student had.

“This is clearly a superintendent’s worst nightmare,” the superintendent of the district, Todd Gray, said at the news conference. He said classes would resume Tuesday.

The shooting raised fears at the school, one of the state’s largest, with about 1,200 students in grades ninth through 12th.


Students were told there was a lockdown drill and to shelter in classrooms. Dismissed early after the building was secured, some of them milled outside the building with their parents, television station WDTJ reported.

Kevin Kitslaar, the school principal, said in a statement to parents and guardians that the students and staff members responded quickly, evacuating from the hallway and into a locked classroom.

“At the same time, as the building was put into a lockdown, the Waukesha Police Department responded quickly to the building and the situation,” he said in the statement, which was quoted by WDTJ.

Shawn Reilly, mayor of Waukesha, which is about 20 miles west of Milwaukee, called it a “terrifying day for students and parents” that “could have been much, much worse.”

Some of the students, shaken and tearful, spoke to local news stations. Most declined to give their full names. One student, speaking to Fox6 News, said she had been in the library when others came in and said there was a gun on campus.

“Then we heard there was a lockdown drill, and we went to the corner,” she said, adding that they had been told to take cover in places where there were no windows. But they could hear bangs, she added.

“We all bonded,” said another student, describing how she and her classmates took shelter in a chemistry class and heard gunshots. “We were all in the situation together.”