Girl opens fire in US middle school wounding two children and adult

Pupil was disarmed by a teacher during shooting in the Idaho town of Rigby

People embrace outside Rigby Middle School in Rigby, Idaho, after a pupil opened fire on her classmates. The Idaho Post-Register via AP
People embrace outside Rigby Middle School in Rigby, Idaho, after a pupil opened fire on her classmates. The Idaho Post-Register via AP

A girl brought a gun to her Idaho middle school on Thursday then shot and wounded two pupils and a custodian before being disarmed by a teacher, officials said.

The three were expected to survive their injuries, officials said in a news conference after the incident in the town of Rigby, about 145 kilometres south-west of Yellowstone National Park.

Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said the girl pulled a handgun from her backpack and fired several rounds inside and outside Rigby Middle School.

In the US, sixth-grade children are usually 11 or 12 years old.

A teacher disarmed the girl and held her until law enforcement arrived and took her into custody, authorities said.

All three victims were shot in their extremities. Authorities say they are investigating the motive for the attack and how the girl got the gun.

Police were called to the school at about 9.15am after pupils and staffers heard gunfire.

“Me and my classmate were just in class with our teacher – we were doing work – and then all of a sudden, there was a loud noise and then there were two more loud noises. Then there was screaming,” said Yandel Rodriguez, 12. “Our teacher went to check it out and he found blood.”

Yandel’s mother, Adela Rodriguez, said her child was fine but “still a little shaky” from the shooting.

Lucy Long, who is also in sixth grade, told the Idaho Falls newspaper Post Register her classroom went into lockdown after gunshots were heard, with lights and computers turned off and pupils lined up against the wall.

She comforted her friends and began recording on her phone, so police would know what happened if the assailant came in. The audio contained mostly whispers, with one sentence audible: “It’s real,” one pupil said.

Previous school shootings prompted no changes to America’s gun laws. The issue of gun regulation in the US is politically fraught and the nation has for years been unable to control shootings.

About 40,000 people in the US die each year in gun incidents. More than half the deaths are suicides.

Updated: May 7, 2021 07:23 PM

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