Waukesha South High School

Resource officer shoots gun-wielding student at Waukesha, Wis., high school

Dec. 3, 2019
Police say 17-year-old student at Waukesha South High School is in stable condition; an officer shot him in a classroom after the student refused to drop a gun.

A 17-year-old student was shot and wounded by a police officer in a classroom at a suburban Milwaukee high school after the teenager pointed a gun at officers and refused to drop it.

The Associated Press reports that the shooting occurred Monday morning at Waukesha South High School in Waukesha, Wis. The student, whose identity was not disclosed, was in stable condition at an area hospital; no officers or other students were injured, Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack says.

The shooting happened after another student told a school resource officer that a classmate had a handgun. Jack says the resource officer went to the classroom to confront the teen and move other students in the room to safety. 

“The suspect would not remove his hands from his pocket and continued to ignore officers’ commands,” Jack says. “The suspect removed his handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the officers. An officer was forced to discharge his firearm, striking the suspect.”

The officer who shot the student is an 11-year veteran of the Waukesha Police Department.

An estimated 43% of public schools have an armed law enforcement officer on-site, according to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics. The survey covered the 2015-16 school year, the most recent year surveyed. That figure doesn’t include schools with armed private security guards or teachers and administrators who carry firearms.

Waukesha School Superintendent Todd Gray told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he believed the district's training—and the quick response of students, staff and a school resource officer—was instrumental in limiting potential injuries.

"Everything worked like it was supposed to," Gray says. "Some people don't always appreciate our drills. But this time the drills paid off. The other kids were safe, and there were no other injuries."

Gray says the district is examining if the school should have been taking any other steps that would have prevented the incident.

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