WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Vigo County Sheriff’s Office has released more details regarding the events Tuesday when an 11-year-old student with a rifle was confronted by police in a field near an elementary school in West Terre Haute.
In a Facebook post, Sheriff Plasse said the events began at approximately 12:45 p.m. when an 11-year-old male student was excused from a classroom so he could use the restroom. When the child didn’t return to the classroom, school officials began searching for him, first inside the building and then outside.
Once the search moved outside the building, additional law enforcement officers were called in to assist in locating the missing student. During this search, officers reported hearing the sound of gunshots they believed to be coming from an area west of the school.
Officers then found the boy armed with a rifle. According to the sheriff, the boy pointed the gun at officers during their attempts to talk him into dropping the weapon. Eventually, officers were able to get close enough to place the boy under arrest. Investigators believe the boy exited the school, walked to a nearby residence, entered the residence, and took a firearm.
Sheriff Plasse stressed that officers never saw the boy fire the weapon or point it at the school. The boy has been charged with pointing a firearm and theft and is being held in the Vigo County Juvenile Center.
The Sheriff’s Office will continue to investigate the criminal side of this incident, but Plasse said the school corporation will handle any issues regarding the school and district policies.
“While this is a very unfortunate incident and we understand the fear and stress this caused students and their families, along with school personnel, we commend the quick and tactical response of all officers involved,” Plasse said. “We are confident the community realizes we have an area full of law enforcement officers, who will always respond without hesitation, as well as utilize their training and experience to act swiftly.”