National/World

Student shoots self in Ohio classroom, authorities say

Monday, April 29, 2013

A student at an all-male parochial high school pulled out a gun in a classroom Monday morning and shot himself in an apparent suicide attempt, police said.

The youth was taken to a hospital, and there appeared to be no threat to other students at La Salle High School, a private Catholic school west of Cincinnati that was immediately put on lockdown as a precaution, police said. Students were later dismissed for the day, and the school posted a message on the announcement board in front of the building: "Please Pray for the Students of La Salle."

At around 8 a.m., "a student produced a gun inside one of the classrooms and shot himself, and we're dealing with that now," Green Township Police Chief Bart West told reporters. School officials said the shooting was during the first class period of the day. No information was released immediately on the type of gun the student had.

West said the student apparently was trying to kill himself, but he had no other information on why he fired the shot. He said authorities weren't aware of any threats made concerning the school or any other students. Authorities said all other students were safe.

Students, some in tears, gathered in the school gym. The school's website said all students were safe and being released to parents "due to an attempted suicide involving one student."

A school official said counselors were meeting with students, and officials were talking to students to try to learn more about the student who fired the shot.

"We just ask that you pray for him and his family," said Greg Tankersley, La Salle's director of community development. "It's a tragic situation for this young man."

He said the youth was "fighting for his life." A message was left at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center about the student's condition.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese sent additional counselors to the school, he said, and a priest went to the hospital where the student was taken. Tankersley said he wouldn't release other information about the student at this point.

In the aftermath of last year's fatal shootings of three students in Chardon High School in northeast Ohio and December's Sandy Hook Elementary shooting rampage in Connecticut, most schools have taken steps to increase security. In Ohio, that's included taking shooting prevention and response training courses offered by the state attorney general and updating safety procedures with police.

"We always have concerns about school security," West said, but he added that La Salle "did an excellent job" in responding Monday. He said township police had met recently with school officials to review their safety plan.

"We're going to go back and look at everything," Tankersley replied when asked at a news conference about a gun getting into the school. But he added that Monday's top priority was the condition of the wounded student and the well-being of the others.

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