LISTEN: La Salle High School 911 calls paint harrowing picture of chaos after student produces gun
Sarah Beth Hensley, WCPO Digital
4:29 PM, Apr 29, 2013
9:17 PM, Apr 30, 2013
CINCINNATI - The moments following a gunshot at La Salle High School Monday morning were frantic ones, especially for many of the students and teachers in the building.
A student shot himself at the school located at 3091 North Bend Road shortly after 9 a.m. and the school immediately went on lockdown. Officials responded quickly to the shooting to ensure the safety of everyone on campus.
A junior at La Salle who was in the room with the student when he shot himself called 911 immediately following the gunshot.
"We were, like, talking to him and then all of a sudden he started shaking and he pulled [the gun] out," the student whispered to a Hamilton County 911 dispatcher following the shooting.
The student said he saw his classmate, also a junior, pull out a gun in the computer room on the third floor of the school. The student then "dove over" the shooter and ran out the door as he heard the gun fire. There were about 22 other students in the room at the time of the shooting.
"He shot once and that's all I heard," the student said. "Then I was gone."
The student gathered with other La Salle students and several faculty members in a room on the first floor of the building until dispatchers gave them the all clear.
Many students heeded the advice of teachers and followed lockdown procedure by hiding in locked classrooms.
Another student who called 911 huddled in a nearby classroom as he recalled watching his fellow classmate pull out a gun.
Student: I was in a classroom and he pulled out a gun and there was one shot fired and my teacher… Dispatcher: Do you know if anyone has been hurt? Student: I do not know, I ran out of the classroom and [inaudible].
The student went on to say that he believed his teacher tried to subdue the student with the gun.
As the events unfolded, those inside the building were not sure if the shooter was active and teachers worked to calm students and keep them safe during the high-stress time.
One La Salle teacher described the shooting to a dispatcher, while working to calm a panicked student.
Teacher: The young man that's here says he was kind of shaking when he came into the room, he went to one corner. I guess is that when he pulled the weapon? Student: Yes Teacher: The young man that's with me is very shaken right now. He said the other students went to the other side of the room.
Dispatchers worked to relay information to the callers and stayed on the phone until police arrived, often giving instructions to help keep people in rooms and out of harms way.
"I want you to keep everybody in the room with you, nobody leave until an officer comes and talks to you and let you know it's safe, OK?" the dispatcher said to a student.
At a time when students felt a rush of emotions, the dispatcher later offered encouragement.
"You're doing a great job."
The student who shot himself remains in critical condition at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.