BOUNTIFUL, Utah – An armed, 15-year-old student opened fire inside a Utah high school, but didn’t end up harming anyone after the boy’s own parents and others jumped into action, police said.
Bountiful Police Department Chief Tom Ross said in a press conference Thursday that the teen fired one shot into the ceiling of a classroom at Mueller Park Jr. High, then pointed the firearm at his own neck.
“A teacher and a student in that room immediately engaged him verbally in trying to talk him out of doing this,” Chief Ross explained. “I believe those seconds played a big role on the outcome.”
Ross said he believes that interjection delayed the boy long enough for his parents to move in and disarm the teen, according to KSTU. Ross said the parents were about two classrooms away when the shot was fired.
Police released 911 audio from the incident:
The call begins with the dispatcher asking for and receiving the address for the school as a woman speaks quickly, clearly out of breath.
Caller: “By the south-west doors, we have a kid with a gun, his parents have him.”
Dispatcher: “He has a gun?!”
Caller: “He has a gun. Everybody is OK. Nobody is hurt.”
The dispatcher then confirms more details about the location of the student within the school, that everyone is safe, and that the caller is a teacher.
Dispatcher: “Where is the student now with the gun?”
Caller: “His parents have him and both the loaded guns.”
Dispatcher: “The parents have the student?”
Dispatcher: “Are the parents being aggressive as well?”
Caller: “They’ve got him against the wall… No, the parents are not. They are worried about him, they are like hand-cuffing him.”
The parents had come down to the school after noticing different behavior in their son Thursday morning.
“As he left to go to school… they started checking to see if weapons or anything were missing from the home,” Ross said. The parents did notice two guns were gone.
Ross said they found those two loaded firearms on the teen, a 12-gauge shotgun and a 9mm handgun, as well as one box of ammunition for each gun. The teen brought the weapons into school by concealing them underneath a long coat.
The teen did not say a word during the ordeal, and at no time did he point a weapon toward anyone other than himself.
After the student and teacher stalled him, Ross said his parents arrived just in time to get the guns away.
“They brought the son out into the hallway where our first arriving officer was able to take him into custody,” he explained.
Ross said when he first heard the report of shots being fired in a school they feared what would ensue.
“I was expecting much worse than what happened,” he said. “To have this event unfold at a junior high school and have no injuries – including to the suspect – is pretty amazing.”
The teen has been booked into a juvenile detention facility in Farmington on several charges, including two counts of felony theft of a firearm and two counts of misdemeanor transporting weapons. Chief Ross said more charges could be filed as the investigation continues.
Ross said they are still trying to determine a motive and the student’s intentions. Because he is a juvenile, his name is not being released at this time.
The Davis County School District said they brought in 20 grief counselors to help students cope with the situation.