These things are just crazy, over the past several weeks there have been numerous shootings at schools. A student just brought an AK-47 assault rifle to the middle school I attended just seven years ago. It’s hard to imagine a place where you once attended has now been thrust into the public spot light. I came to work this morning and never dreamed of hearing any news come out of sleepy Joplin Missouri.
Student fires gun in Mo. middle school
By MARCUS KABEL
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
JOPLIN, Mo. — A 13-year-old student fired an AK-47 into the ceiling at his middle school Monday morning after confronting a pair of students and administrators, telling them, “please don’t make me do this,” officials said.
No one was injured, and the boy was taken into custody.
The student, who was not identified, pointed the gun at two students and Principal Steve Gilbreth and Assistant Superintendent Steve Doerr and asked them, “not to make me do this,” said School Superintendent Jim Simpson.
The boy then fired a shot into the ceiling, breaking a water pipe, Simpson said. After firing the shot, he said, the boy again said, “Please don’t make me do this.”
“It was a very close call,” Simpson said.
Doerr and Gilbreth persuaded the student to leave the building, and he was confronted by two police officers who had their weapons drawn. The student dropped the rifle and was taken into custody, Simpson said.
Joplin police Officer Curt Farmer said officers found a note in the student’s backpack indicating that he had placed an explosive in the school, which has about 750 students. Students in the school were moved to nearby Joplin Memorial Hall, where parents picked them up.
The school was closed while police searched the building.
The student, who was wearing a mask, had been planning an attack for a “long time,” Simpson said. He didn’t elaborate and said authorities did not know whether others were involved.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the boy got access to the assault rifle.
The shooting happened about 7:45 a.m., 10 minutes before the start of classes.
A woman who was dropping her son off at the school said she saw Gilbreth “waving crazily” and police cars pulling up behind her.
“Police were heading into the school with weapons drawn, and the principal was pointing to the east side of the school,” Blake Spivak told The Joplin Globe.
Spivak, former advertising director for the newspaper, said she and her son, Cooper, stayed in the car while Gilbreth walked back into the school flanked by armed officers in protective jackets. She said an officer told her to get down or get her car away from the scene.
Joplin, which has about 40,900 residents, is in southwest Missouri, on the Kansas border about 140 miles south of Kansas City.
Schools across the country have been on alert since three deadly school shootings in three states in the span of a week, and several schools have been locked down or closed entirely during the past two weeks because of threats.
In Pennsylvania Amish country Monday morning, church bells tolled across the region in remembrance of the five young girls who were shot to death at their one-room schoolhouse one week earlier.