BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A shooting at an eastern Idaho middle school Thursday injured two students and a custodian, and a student was taken into custody, authorities said.
The victims’ injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said.
Police were called to the school around 9:15 a.m. after students and staffers heard gunfire. Multiple law enforcement agencies responded, and students were evacuated to a nearby high school to be reunited with their parents.
“Me and my classmate were just in class with our teacher — we were doing work — and then all of a sudden, here was a loud noise and then there were two more loud noises. Then there was screaming,” 12-year-old Yandel Rodriguez said. “Our teacher went to check it out, and he found blood.”
Yandel’s mom, Adela Rodriguez, said they were OK but “still a little shaky” from the shooting as they left the campus.
“Today we had the worst nightmare a school district could encounter. We had a school shooting here at Rigby Middle School,” Jefferson School District Superintendent Chad Martin said. “What we know so far is the shooter has been apprehended. There is no further threat to the students.”
Bonneville County sheriff’s Sgt. Bryan Lovell said an investigation was underway and no additional information was immediately available. A news conference was scheduled for 4 p.m.
Rigby is a small city about 95 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Yellowstone National Park. Rigby Middle School has about 1,500 students in sixth through eighth grades, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
“I am praying for the lives and safety of those involved in today’s tragic events,” Gov. Brad Little said in a prepared statement. “Thank you to our law enforcement agencies and school leaders for their efforts in responding to the incident.”
Police tape surrounded the middle school, and small evidence markers were placed next to spots of blood on the ground. Investigators interviewed faculty and staffers individually.
Lucy Long, a sixth-grader at Rigby Middle School, told the Post Register newspaper in Idaho Falls that her classroom went into lockdown after they heard gunshots, with lights and computers turned off and students lined up against the wall.
Lucy comforted her friends and began recording on her phone, so police would know what happened if the shooter came in. The audio contained mostly whispers, with one sentence audible: “It’s real,” one student said.
Lucy said she saw blood on the hallway floor when police escorted them out of the classroom.
The shooter was quickly apprehended, and the three injured people were taken to a hospital by ambulance, Central Fire Chief Carl Anderson said.
The president of the Idaho Education Association, Layne McInelly, said the union was ready to provide whatever support school staffers, students and the community needs.
“We send positive thoughts to the victims of this tragic incident and hope for their full and rapid recovery. Patience will need to be at a premium while school officials and law enforcement agencies investigate the situation,” McInelly said in a statement.
The attack appears to be Idaho’s second school shooting. In 1999, a student at a high school in Notus fired a shotgun several times. No one was struck by the gunfire, but one student was injured by ricocheting debris from the first shell.
In 1989, a student at Rigby Junior High pulled a gun, threatened a teacher and students, and took a 14-year-old girl hostage, according to a Deseret News report. Police safely rescued the hostage from a nearby church about an hour later and took the teen into custody. No one was shot in that incident.
Associated Press writers Keith Ridler in Boise and Emily Wilder in Phoenix contributed. Photographer Natalie Behring contributed from Rigby.