After a student allegedly brought a gun to Waukesha South High School and was shot by a police officer in a classroom on Monday morning, City of Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly called it “a terrifying day.” Later in the day, a different student allegedly brought a gun to Waukesha North High School.
It was the second lockdown for a Waukesha high school in less than 4 hours, adding to the terror felt by hundreds of families, and underlying fear as the frequency of school shootings increases.
“For the citizens of Waukesha, I know this was a terrifying day for many students and parents,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said Monday morning, before the report of the student at North High.
Lockdown at South
A 17-year-old Waukesha South High School student was shot by a school resource officer after he allegedly pointed the gun at an officer, Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack said during a news conference Monday morning.
Waukesha South High School, 401 E. Roberta Ave., is located about 11 miles north of the Tichigan area of Racine County.
At 10:17 a.m. Monday, the Waukesha South school resource officer was informed by a student that a 17-year-old male student had brought a handgun to school, Jack said.
The resource officer went to the student’s classroom and tried to de-escalate the situation, but the student was reportedly uncooperative. “The suspect would not remove his hands from his pockets and continued to ignore officers’ commands,” Jack said. “The suspect removed the handgun from his waistband and pointed it.”
The school resource officer — an 11-year veteran of the Waukesha Police Department — then shot the student, Jack said. Several students told media outlets on the scene that they heard three gunshots.
The student was transported by ambulance to a hospital and was reportedly in stable condition Monday afternoon, Jack said. Students were released at 11:15 a.m. School was expected to resume on Tuesday, although basketball games scheduled for Monday night were canceled.
“This is clearly a superintendent’s worst nightmare,” Todd Gray, the superintendent of schools for the Waukesha School District, said Monday morning. “But my primary concern is for the students and parents of Waukesha South High School.”
Waukesha police said Monday morning that the situation at South High School appeared to be an isolated incident and that they were not seeking other persons of interest at that time.
Jack said the Greenfield Police Department is leading an investigation into the morning’s incident as part of a regional task force.
“Initial information shows that the officer acted within state statutes and department policy, and fulfilled the mission of the Waukesha Police Department — a pledge to serve with integrity, honor and courage,” Jack said.
Lockdown at North
Shortly before 2 p.m. Monday, Waukesha North High School, 2222 Michigan Ave., also was placed on lockdown. However, that lockdown was lifted about 10 minutes later, according to reporting from WITI-TV in Milwaukee.
At 2:20 p.m., the Waukesha Police Department tweeted that “There was a report of a student possessing a firearm at North High School.”
A search of the school was then conducted, police said, followed by a student being taken into custody at a City of Waukesha home.
As of 3 p.m. Monday, no other information had been released regarding the second incident.
‘This can happen anywhere’
An outpouring of support for the greater Waukesha community became apparent within hours.
Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement: “My heart is with the students, educators and staff of Waukesha South High School ... as they mourn and endure the trauma of today’s shooting.”
Evers continued: “Today is a grim reminder that this can happen anywhere, but I do not accept — nor should we accept — that this is an inevitable reality for our kids, our communities, our state, or our country.”
State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, the Republican majority leader, complimented the work of the Waukesha Police Department, saying that “law enforcement’s quick response today was heroic.”
Ben Wikler, the chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said in a tweet: “A few months ago, I sat down with a group of Waukesha high school students. Several told me about their palpable fear of gun violence. Profoundly bleak to see their fears realized today.”
One student tweeted at 12:28 p.m.: “Waukesha South student here, we’re all shaken up but we’re slowly going home. Love all of you guys, stay safe,” followed by a heart emoji.
The Journal Times may update this report as more information becomes available.
Journal Times Reporter Adam Rogan contributed to this article.