Indiana middle school to reopen, 5 days after shooting
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A suburban Indianapolis middle school is set to reopen for classes on Wednesday, five days after a male student allegedly shot and wounded a 13-year-old classmate and a teacher who was credited with disarming the assailant.
Noblesville West Middle School will reopen Wednesday on a two-hour delay and operate on the same shortened schedule Thursday and Friday, which is the district’s final day of classes for the school year, said Noblesville Schools spokeswoman Marnie Cooke.
The middle school opened its doors Tuesday, but only to provide counseling for students and staff still shaken by last Friday’s shooting and allow students to collect belongings they left behind, she said.
“They had snacks for the students, therapy dogs for them, all that kind of stuff,” Cooke said. “And for the rest of the week they’ll be there with really a focus on counseling and team building.”
Noblesville police said officers have been posted at all the district’s schools to “offer … reassurance” for students finishing out the school year.
Prosecutors said Tuesday they must wait until charges are filed in the shooting before releasing information about the student who allegedly opened fire last Friday inside a classroom in the city about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Indianapolis.
Hamilton County Prosecutor D. Lee Buckingham said in a statement that when a charging petition is filed against a juvenile for “an alleged act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, only then may very limited information be released.”
The investigation into Friday’s shooting is ongoing, he said, and Indiana law protects the privacy of juveniles accused of crimes and limits what information can be released.
Buckingham said authorities cannot confirm the suspect’s identity or describe the alleged offense until a charging petition is filed. It’s unclear when any such charges might be filed.
Under Indiana law, any suspects age 13 and younger must be tried as juveniles if they are accused of anything other than murder, said Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council.
Juveniles must be at least 14 years old to be tried as an adult on serious crimes such as attempted murder charges, he said.
Science teacher Jason Seaman is credited with tackling the male student after he shot and seriously wounded classmate Ella Whistler last Friday morning. She remained hospitalized in Indianapolis in critical but stable condition.
Witnesses said Seaman, a 29-year-old former college football player, ran toward bullets as he tackled the armed student.
Seaman, who was shot but not seriously injured, said Monday that his swift decisions in disarming the student inside his classroom “were the only acceptable actions” to save his seventh-grade students.
“I deeply care for my students and their well-being. That is why I did what I did that day,” he said.