Teacher hailed as hero in Lacey high school shooting

A student is under arrest and a teacher is being called a hero after a shooting inside North Thurston High School Monday morning. Drew Mikkelsen reports.

LACEY, Wash. -- Lacey detectives say the North Thurston High School sophomore who fired a gun on campus may have wanted to be shot and killed by the school's resource officer.

Lacey Police Commander Jim Mack said it may have been an attempted "suicide by cop."

Mack said the 16-year-old student fired a revolver twice near the school's commons a few minutes before classes started Monday morning.

One shot went into the ground, the other was into the ceiling according to Mack.

Police said the campus resource officer, a Lacey police officer, was preparing to shoot the boy when social studies teacher Brady Olson tackled the student.

Other staff members, including the school's principal, helped disarm and detain the student.

Mack said the student told them he had no intention of hurting anyone else.

Police believe the teen got the gun from his parents.

Detectives said it was legally purchased by the parents, but they did not give the boy permission to take the gun to school.

He was booked into the Thurston County Juvenile Detention Center on several weapons charges.

The student recently transferred to the school from Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines, according to a North Thurston Public Schools spokesperson.

"I saw he had a gun in his hand and I was gone, I ran," said North Thurston Junior Darren Sroor.

"All I heard was some guy running through a hallway saying he has a gun. He has a gun. And then I saw a whole bunch of people just running," another student said.

Parents said they were grateful to the actions of Olson, the teacher.

"He's my hero of the day," said mother Stefani Golden.

"I can't thank him enough right now," one dad said. "I'd hug him if I could see him right now. I'm very thankful he was there."

Olson released this statement:

"I would like to say how happy I am that everyone is safe after today's incident. I would also like to take this opportunity to praise all the police agencies that were involved, especially our Student Resource Officer, (SRO) Ed McClanahan. All agencies responded quickly and acted with the utmost professionalism. Additionally, I would like to say thank you to an amazing staff here at North Thurston High School. From administrators to teachers, all reacted to a very intense situation with incredible tact and professionalism. No one, including myself, can prepare for a situation like this, so I'm very thankful that we're all okay. As always, students come first, and today was no different. I reacted in a way that any other teacher would react and at the sound of a gunshot had three other adults, including Tim Brown, Dean of Students, Principal Steve Rood, and Security Officer, Jim Beltico, going toward the sound of gun fire rather than away. We will all group together as a staff and community, like we always do, and continue to put kids first! North Thurston High School's staff handled this like every other staff in every city, in every state, across this country would. I'm incredibly proud to be a member of the bigger community of educators who teach and take care of our kids every day."

Parents got text messages telling them about the shooting and that they could pick up their students on the football field.

They knew no one had been shot, but that didn't keep parents from fearing for the worst until they could see and hug their kids.

"My heart is just shattered right now," one mother said. "I just want [to see] my babies."

The student accused of the shooting had only been at the school for a month.

Classmate Natalia Greene said the suspect wore all black to school Monday, which was unlike him.

"He was never rude to anyone. He was very social in class. I never noticed any bullying in our class. He wasn't a quiet kid. He didn't wear all black like he did today," said Greene.

Police and the FBI served search warrants on the suspect's home. There was no immediate word on what they found.

Classes and athletic activities will resume at North Thurston High School on Tuesday, but parents can keep their kids at home if they'd like. Trauma specialists are scheduled to be on campus.

KING 5's Michael Konopasek, Drew Mikkelsen,Travis Pittman and Jake Whittenberg, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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