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Heroes avert crisis in S.D. school shooting

A student shot and wounded the principal at his Harrisburg, South Dakota, school on Wednesday, September 30, and the assistant principal at the school has been credited with stopping the gunman before the situation got worse, the Argus Leader reports.

Illinois State Police officers guarded Grant High School in Fox Lake, Illinois, on September 1 as parents arrived to pick up their children. Police were searching for suspects involved in the shooting death of a police officer that morning, and the school, only blocks from the search area, remained on lockdown for most of the day. (Scott Olson / Getty Images News)

No students were harmed in the incident, and police were called within minutes of the school being placed on lockdown, shelter in place mode. The principal, Kevin Lein, was wounded in the arm and treated at a local hospital. He was released later the same day.

According to initial reports, Ryan Rollinger, the school’s assistant principal, heard shots being fired at about 10 AM and tackled the teenage shooter, holding him down with help from the school’s activities director, Joey Struwe, until police arrived. Jim Holbeck, superintendent of the Harrisburg School District, said their heroic actions probably kept others out of danger.

“You really never know what this student would have done if they hadn’t confronted him,” Mr Holbeck was quoted as saying. “If he already shot once, who knows?”

As soon as the shooting occurred, officials pressed “panic buttons” at the school, which signal the police that the school is going into lockdown. Mr Lein used the public address system at the school shortly after the shooting to tell students and staff he had been shot but was OK.

Information about the student was not immediately released, but police later released his name, since it was necessary to charge him as an adult. Mason T Buhl of Sioux Falls has been charged with first-degree attempted murder, KSOO-AM Radio reported on October 1.

Students were bused to a middle school in the district to be reunited with parents a little later in the morning. Harrisburg is a small community located about 10 miles south of Sioux Falls.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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