y Teresa Carson
TROUTDALE Ore. (Reuters) – A gunman walked into an Oregon high school with a rifle and shot a student to death on Tuesday before he was later found dead, in the third outbreak of gun violence to shake a U.S. high school or college campus in less than three weeks.
Reynolds High School in the middle-class Portland suburb of Troutdale was immediately locked down, then evacuated room by room as law enforcement and emergency personnel converged on the campus of 2,800 students, which had been scheduled to hold its last day of classes on Wednesday before the summer break.
“A gunman entered the high school this morning, shot one student. Unfortunately, that student has died,” Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson told a news conference. “The gunman was located and the gunman is also deceased.”
A teacher was treated at the scene for non-life-threatening injuries, but there were no immediate reports of additional injuries.
LOCK DOWN: Emergency crews are on the scene of the school shooting outside Portland, Oregon. Scene video at RE-81TU pic.twitter.com/efji94o56v
— CNN Newsource (@CNNNewsource) June 10, 2014
— KATU News (@KATUNews) June 10, 2014
Anderson said the gunman had been tentatively identified, but that authorities were seeking confirmation before releasing his name. He did not clarify whether the suspect was a student or how he died.
Two girls from the high school, sisters Kadejah and Deondra Nixon, told Reuters after being reunited with their parents that police were asking students whether anyone had ridden a bus to school with a student carrying a guitar case.
“This has been very unsettling day for our precious city,” Troutdale Mayor Doug Daoust said at the news conference.
The violence in northern Oregon was the latest in a string of fatal shootings in U.S. public places since May, including a shooting at a Christian college in neighboring Washington state last week in which one student died.
Television footage at the Oregon school showed police officers in helmets and tactical gear, stepping from armored vehicles and running near the school’s perimeter with rifles. Students streamed out of the school with hands raised.
“My heart is heavy after learning of this morning’s tragic events at Reynolds High School,” Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said. “Today, Oregon hurts as we try to make sense of a senseless act of violence.”
A few miles from the school, students bused from the campus were being reunited with anxious parents in the parking lot of a shopping center.
“I’m glad it wasn’t worse,” said Rachelle Rueschenberg, a mother clutching her ninth-grade daughter, Maddy. “It’s so hard.”
Kadejah Nixon said she did not hear gunfire because the shooting was in a different wing of the building, but recounted an announcement over the school’s public address system that urged students to go to the nearest classroom and close the doors.
“‘This is not a drill, this is serious, get into a classroom,'” she quoted the announcement as saying.
Police said that during a search of the school after the shooting, they found a gun on another person, which they believed to be unrelated to the violence. That person, who was not identified, was taken into custody.
(Reporting by Shelby Sebens in Portland, Teresa Carson in Troutdale and Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Eric Beech and Peter Cooney)