Multiple people were injured in a high school shooting in Perry, Iowa, authorities said on Thursday, the first day back for classes after the winter holiday break.
Adam Infante, sheriff of Dallas county, told reporters that the shooter had been identified, and there was no additional threat to students, staff or the public.
“There is no further danger to the public. The community is safe. We’re just now working backwards trying to figure out everything that happened,” he told a morning press conference at Perry high school.
“School didn’t start yet. Luckily, there were very few students and faculty in the building, which I think contributed to a good outcome in that sense.”
CNN and the Associated Press have reported that the shooter was dead, citing law enforcement officials. NBC reported that the shooter may have been a student at the school and had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Official confirmation was awaited.
Infante said he would give another update on Thursday afternoon about the shooting, to which he said officers responded within seven minutes of receiving the first active shooter call at 7.37am central time.
Two gunshot victims were taken by ambulance to Iowa Methodist medical center in the state capital of Des Moines, about 40 miles south-east of Perry.
A woman who answered the Perry police department phone confirmed the shooting at Perry high school but did not provide any further information.
Vehicles surrounded the building that houses the town’s middle school and high school.
Erica Jolliff said her daughter, a ninth-grader, reported getting rushed from the school grounds at 7.45am. Jolliff was still looking for her son Amir, a sixth-grader, an hour later.
“I just want to know that he’s safe and OK,” Jolliff said. She said she was not receiving any more information from authorities at that point.
Rachael Kares, an 18-year-old senior, said she was finishing band practice when she heard what she described as four gunshots, spaced apart.
“We all just jumped,” Kares said. “My band teacher looked at us and yelled, ‘Run!’ So we ran.”
Kares and others ran out of the school past a football field, and said she heard people yelling, “Get out! Get out!”
The high school is part of the 1,785-student Perry community school district. Thursday was the first day back in school for students following the holiday break.
The shooting occurred to the backdrop of the Iowa caucuses, where Republican candidates vying for the presidency are campaigning in the area ahead of the caucuses on 15 January as the 2024 election campaign season ramps up.
Phone messages left with the Perry school board’s president and vice-president, and an email message left with superintendent Clark Wicks, were not immediately returned.
The Associated Press contributed reporting