LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – A student who shot himself in the cafeteria led to Thursday’s lockdown of Lowellville Local Schools.
Shortly after 10 a.m., police from Mahoning and Trumbull counties raced to Lowellville’s K-12 campus after word went out of a shooter inside the building.
“Immediately, our staff went into the lockdown mode that we had practiced and prepared for,” said Dr. Geno Thomas, superintendent of Lowellville Local Schools.
Lowellville Police Chief Rick Alli was actually working as the district’s school resource officer and was close to the cafeteria where the shooting happened.
“The kids were immediate, immediate in finding me,” Alli said.
The chief says he found one gunshot victim, who sources have told us is middle school-aged, right away. First Aid was immediately administered to the student, who was taken away from the scene. The student’s current condition hasn’t been released yet.
District officials say no one else was hurt during the incident.
Alli put out a call for help and arriving officers and sheriff’s deputies started securing the building and setting up a perimeter around campus.
“We made sure that everyone knew exactly where they were supposed to be,” Alli said.
Alli praised his staff and teachers for ensuring the safety of the students.
“And I’d like to commend my staff. You know, the teachers here all reacted perfectly. So, you know, all the students were always totally safe,” Alli said.
Ironically, the district had just completed an active shooter exercise Thursday morning, known as ALICE Training, when real life took over.
“Unfortunately, this is not OJT and, you know, within less than an hour, we were actually reviewing what we were doing and what our plans were going to be in the future when this occurred,” Alli said.
By late Thursday morning, staff led students away from the school and over to the football field where they were reunited with their anxious parents. Students and parents were seen hugging and crying.
SWAT teams then went inside to sweep the building.
“Right now, we are in the process of securing the building to make sure that nothing else, in addition to what we’ve already discovered, and we are investigating, is possible,” Alli said.
Sheriff’s deputies also took a woman into custody at the scene. Investigators say she was a parent who showed up at the school with a gun.
District officials are trying to determine what will happen with prom. Lowellville’s promenade was also supposed to happen at the school on Friday. As of Friday morning, that has been cancelled as well as all Friday activities. Thursday night’s track meet was canceled.
According to a letter from the school, student drivers with cars on school premises that need their keys can come Friday to pick them up between 8:00 am to 12:00 noon or from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Per police order, student drivers will be escorted into the building by a police officer to get their keys. No other belongings will be released. School officials will let the student body know when their personal belongings can be received.
According to the letter, Lowellville students who attend MCCTC will need to have their own transportation for Friday.
Thomas says classes have been canceled for Friday. Instead, grief counseling teams from around the area will be on campus offering help to students, staff and community members who need it. This will be available from 8 a.m. – Noon and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Superintendent Dr. Geno Thomas said that anyone coming can enter trough the main entrance into the library.
Friday morning, reaction was pouring in on social media. Other schools in our community are really rallying behind Lowellville. Nearby Campbell Memorial said on Twitter that they are sending prayers. Officials at Champion are sending strength. Others said that there are no words, but that: “We stand with you.”
Dr. Thomas thanked the entire Lowellville community and first responders for their patience, support, cooperation, thoughts, and prayers.
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