Student Shoots 6 at School, Killing a Sixth-Grader

The wounded include the principal, Iowa police say
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2024 5:00 PM CST
Student Shoots 6 at School, Killing a Sixth-Grader
Perry High School junior Samuel Hernandez speaks to reporters after the shooting in Perry, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

A sixth-grader was killed when a 17-year-old student opened fire at an Iowa high school Thursday, leaving five other people wounded, including the principal. All were hospitalized, one in critical condition. Gunfire erupted just after 7:30am, sending some in the building in Perry fleeing while others barricaded themselves in rooms. The high school shares a building with a middle school, and a breakfast program in the lunchroom could have had students from both in it at the time, a law enforcement official told the Des Moines Register. "My band teacher looked at us and yelled, 'Run!'" said Rachael Kares, a senior who was at practice when the shooting started. "So we ran."

Authorities identified the shooter as Dylan Butler, a student at Perry High School, and said he was found dead of a gunshot wound that apparently was self-inflicted. He had a pump action shotgun and a small-caliber handgun, police said. Police later found an improvised explosive device in the school and made it inoperable, per CNN. The 17-year-old posted a selfie on TikTok shortly before the shooting, per the Register, showing him in a bathroom stall with a duffle bag at his feet. "Now we wait," the caption said. The account has been shut down.

Parents and students described their fear at hearing the gunfire. Kevin Shelley got a text from his son Zander, 15, who had been grazed by two bullets and was hiding in a classroom, per the AP. "It was the most scared I've been in my entire life," his father said later. Ava Augustus, a senior, heard three shots while in a counselor's office. The window was too small to climb through, so she and others barricaded the door. They were preparing to throw things at the attacker if necessary. "And then we hear, 'He's down. You can go out,'" Augustus said. "And I run and you can just see glass everywhere, blood on the floor. I get to my car and they're taking a girl out of the auditorium who had been shot in her leg." (More school shooting stories.)

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