A sixth-grade girl shot two students and a custodian at an Idaho middle school on Thursday before being disarmed by a teacher, authorities said.
The Jefferson county sheriff, Steve Anderson, said the girl had fired multiple rounds inside and outside Rigby middle school in the small city of Rigby, about 95 miles south-west of Yellowstone national park.
The girl lived in nearby Idaho Falls, Anderson said. Authorities did not release her name, and it is unclear what motivated the attack.
The three victims were shot in their extremities and were expected to survive.
Dr Michael Lemon, the trauma medical director at Eastern Idaho regional medical center, said the injured adult had been treated and released for a bullet wound in an extremity. The bullet went cleanly through the limb, he said.
Both of the students who were shot were being held at the hospital overnight, and one of them might need surgery, Lemon added. Both students were in fair condition. One of the students had wounds in two limbs and might have been shot twice, he said.
Police were called to the school around 9.15am after students and staffers heard gunfire. Multiple law enforcement agencies responded, and students were evacuated to a nearby high school to be reunited with their parents.
“Today we had the worst nightmare a school district could encounter,” the Jefferson school district superintendent, Chad Martin, said later in the day.
Martin said schools would be closed districtwide to give students time to be with families, but that counselors would be available starting on Friday morning.
Rigby middle school has about 1,500 students in sixth through eighth grades, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
“I am praying for the lives and safety of those involved in today’s tragic events,” Brad Little, the Idaho governor, said in a statement. “Thank you to our law enforcement agencies and school leaders for their efforts in responding to the incident.”
Police tape surrounded the middle school, and small evidence markers were placed next to spots of blood on the ground. Investigators interviewed faculty and staffers individually.
“Me and my classmate were just in class with our teacher, we were doing work, and then all of a sudden, here was a loud noise and then there were two more loud noises. Then there was screaming,” 12-year-old Yandel Rodriguez said. “Our teacher went to check it out, and he found blood.”
The attack appears to be Idaho’s second school shooting. In 1999, a student at a high school in Notus fired a shotgun several times. No one was struck by the gunfire, but one student was injured by ricocheting debris from the first shell.
In 1989, a student at Rigby junior high pulled a gun, threatened a teacher and students, and took a 14-year-old girl hostage, according to a Deseret News report. Police safely rescued the hostage from a nearby church about an hour later and took the teen into custody. No one was shot in that incident.