In the recent Gasden school shooting, a school officer shot and killed a suspicious man attempting to gain entry to the campus.
A suspicious intruder was shot outside of Walnut Park Elementary school in Alabama after trying to gain entry into the building. The school had gone under lockdown and no children were hurt. Now the details of this Gasden City school shooting are revealing the importance of quick thinking during threatening campus situations.
Last Thursday, an unidentified suspect went onto school grounds. He is reported to have attempted to break into cars and then aggressively began testing locked school entrances. The principal put the elementary school on lockdown and called the Superintendent while the resource officer handled the situation. The Superintendent later recalled how frantic the principal was and how he knew something horrible was happening. This was just before the Gasden school shooting.
While students, teachers, and staff remained locked inside the building, the resource officer called for backup, but got into a physical altercation with the suspect. As a member of the Rainbow City police department, he fired shots around 9:30 a.m. The Gasden school learned after the shooting that the suspect was dead and students were safe.
There were only 34 children in the building for the Walnut Park Elementary summer literacy camp, but every student was transported to a secure location for pick-up and released to parents early. This Gasden school shooting comes just weeks after the deadly Uvalde, Texas incident which left 19 students and 2 teachers dead inside of Robb Elementary School after the police stood down and left students to fend for themselves against an 18-year-old armed intruder. Although many parents support arming teachers as a preventative measure in case of danger, the U.S. Senate has developed a new gun control package focused on heightened school security and mental illness.
Whether further gun control measures would reduce school shootings, or criminal murders at all is still unknown. The former Ulvade police chief Pete Arrandondo — now city councilman — has yet to face charges for negligence due to his handling of the Robb Elementary School shooting, and no legislation has been proposed to direct law enforcement to do everything possible to protect innocent children in an active shooter situation. Because of this, faith in law enforcement and school security has waned for many families. Movements to arm teachers have been growing and some states have already taken action to make it easier for teachers to carry firearms in class. As emotions run high, the Gasden school shooting displays a promising picture of school security. Instead of standing down, or pushing safety responsibilities off onto other officials, the Walnut Park Elementary resource office reacted quickly and worked to secure the premises.
It is unclear whether the suspect was armed or if he had any connection to the school or any of the children inside. The Rainbow City police officer who worked as the school’s resource office has also yet to be named, but given the facts, parents are relieved to know that the Gasden school shooting did not involve any students, teachers, or Walnut Park staff. This is one situation which offers a positive example of proper school safety protocols.