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Iowa school shooting leaves 2 dead, including 6th grader and 17-year-old gunman, 5 others injured: Full coverage

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A 17-year-old suspect opened fire at Perry Middle and High School in Iowa on Thursday morning, killing a sixth-grade student and injuring five others, police said.

The shooter — identified as student Dylan Butler — was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities revealed at an afternoon press conference.

They also said an improvised explosive device was discovered in the school, located around 40 miles northwest of Des Moines. Law enforcement officials added the suspect was armed with a pump action shotgun and a handgun.

Social media posts Butler made around the time of the shooting suggest he acted alone, authorities said.

Among the injured are four students and a school administrator. The shooting comes days before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15, which will mark the start of the 2024 Republican primary election.

Our live coverage has now ended.

LIVE COVERAGE IS OVER22 updates
  • U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona posted a message Thursday evening on the school shooting in Perry, Iowa.

    I’m devastated over the shooting at Perry High School today. ⁰⁰Just last month I visited Perry, Iowa and met the amazing students, teachers, and leaders that make up the community. It’s hard to think of how that community is mourning today.⁰⁰Perry, IA @usedgov is with you.

    — Secretary Miguel Cardona (@SecCardona) January 4, 2024

  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered all flags in the state to be lowered to half-staff on Thursday following the shooting at Perry High School.

    I have ordered all flags to be lowered to half staff in support of the Perry community.

    This senseless tragedy has shaken our entire state to its core. I want this community to know that every Iowan stands with you.https://t.co/gCLpf9idW1

— Gov. Kim Reynolds (@IAGovernor) January 4, 2024

DeSantis speaks during a campaign stop in Waukee, Iowa, Wednesday. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Thursday’s deadly school shooting comes less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is hoping for a strong finish in the state, responded to news of the shooting that left a sixth-grade student dead and five other people injured by saying he did not back new federal gun restrictions.

“I think it is more of a local and state issue. But we’ve shown how it’s done in Florida. The things that we’ve done have been very, very effective,” DeSantis said in a Thursday interview with NBC News and the Des Moines Register.

“I don’t support infringing the rights of law-abiding citizens with respect to the ability to exercise their constitutional rights,” DeSantis added.

Read more at NBC News.

Perry High School’s principal, Dan Marburger, was among those injured in Thursday’s shooting, according to reports from ABC and the Des Moines Register.

“This morning our state is grieving after learning of a school shooting that took place at Perry High School,” the Easton Valley Community School District said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“Sadly, we have also received information that one of our former East Central graduates, Dan Marburger, was one of the victims injured in the incident. We have not confirmed the extent of his injuries so we wanted to send out a message asking for thoughts and prayers for him and his family. Dan has served as a principal for the Perry Community School District since 1995.”

In an afternoon joint press conference on Thursday, Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, identified the Perry High School shooter as 17-year-old Perry High School student Dylan Butler.

When police arrived, Butler was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Mortvedt. He said Butler was armed with a pump action shot gun and a hand gun. An improvised explosive device, determined by law enforcement to be safe, was also found on the scene. The gunman evidently acted alone.

Mortvedt said that a sixth-grade student at Perry Middle School was killed in the shooting. Four of the surviving victims were students, and another was a school administrator.

Mortvedt added that Butler had made social media posts at and around the time of the shooting. The investigation is ongoing.

Per the Des Moines Register, Polk County Healthcare Systems said in a statement that the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that all victims taken to Iowa Methodist Medical Center and MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center, have been reunited with their families.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety has scheduled a joint press conference for 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT to “provide an update on the active shooter event that occurred” on Thursday morning.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said earlier Thursday that she would join law enforcement agencies at the press conference.

Multiple people were transported to nearby hospitals after the shooting on Thursday morning, according to the Polk County Medical Coordination Center.

Police said at an earlier press conference there were “multiple gunshot victims” at Perry High School. “We’re still unclear exactly how many are injured or what the extent of those are, but we’re working on that right now,” Dallas County, Iowa, Sheriff Adam Infante said.

A man and children leave the McCreary Community Building after being reunited following a shooting at Perry High School, in Perry, Iowa, Thursday. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Kris Brown, president of the Brady gun violence prevention organization, released the following statement after the school shooting in Perry, Iowa:

New year, same horror. These students were returning to campus after their holiday break only to be met with gun violence that has uniquely plagued their generation. No child should have to hide in their classrooms fearing for their lives. No teacher should have to stand guard over their students potentially shielding them from bullets. No parent should have to fear that any day they send their child to school could be their last.

2024 should not start this way for the students of Perry High School or any student in our nation. Our hearts are with all the affected students, teachers, school staff, parents, and community members. This year — as with every year — we are resolved to end this deadly epidemic and free America from gun violence.

A police cruiser sits outside Perry Middle School and High School following Thursday’s shooting. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Ava Augustus, a senior at Perry High School, told the Associated Press that she was in a counselor’s office when she heard three shots. She and other people in the room barricaded the door.

“And then we hear: ‘He’s down. You can go out,’” Augustus said. ”And I run and you can just see glass everywhere, blood on the floor. I get to my car and they’re taking a girl out of the auditorium who had been shot in her leg.”

Another student, identified as Carlos, told NBC News that he heard “a couple of bangs” and saw fellow students running but “thought it was like a prank.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on Thursday. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

At the top of Thursday’s briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden is “tracking the shooting at Perry Middle and High School in Iowa.”

“Our hearts break for the families of the victims in yet another act of senseless gun violence,” Jean-Pierre said. “We are grateful for the brave first responders who are on the scene.”

She added: “It’s only the fourth day in the new year and we are already faced with another horrific school shooting, and the question that we ask is, when will enough be enough?”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds addressed Thursday’s school shooting in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“Our hearts are broken by this senseless tragedy,” Reynolds wrote. “Our prayers are with the students, teachers & families of the Perry Community.”

The governor said she would be joining law enforcement agencies at a press conference later Thursday.

Our hearts are broken by this senseless tragedy. Our prayers are with the students, teachers & families of the Perry Community.

I have been in contact with law enforcement agencies & am continuing to monitor the situation. I will be joining their press conference today.

— Gov. Kim Reynolds (@IAGovernor) January 4, 2024

The Republican senator from Iowa called this morning’s shooting in Perry “appalling” and “heartbreaking.”

“Barbara + I are grateful for quick response by school officials &law enforcement to protect students +restore safety,” he tweeted. “The Perry community is strong& will band 2gether thru hard time.”

Todays appalling violence at Perry HS is heartbreaking Barbara + I are grateful for quick response by school officials &law enforcement to protect students +restore safety. The Perry community is strong& will band 2gether thru hard time Im here 2help if addtl fed resources needed

— Chuck Grassley (@ChuckGrassley) January 4, 2024

The Associated Press, citing a law enforcement source, reported that the school shooter has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

During a news conference this morning, Dallas County, Iowa, Sheriff Adam Infante said the shooter was identified, but he did not release any more information.

According to the Des Moines Register, the Perry Community School District has canceled all classes Friday following the shooting at Perry High School and is offering counseling services today at the Perry Public Library.

Crossroads Church in Perry, Iowa said in a Facebook post that it is planning a prayer vigil for 7 p.m. today, Thursday. The church invited the entire community to gather together in response to the shooting.

Dallas County, Iowa, Sheriff Adam Infante speaks outside Perry High School in Iowa on Thursday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

At an abbreviated press briefing, Dallas County, Iowa, Sheriff Adam Infante said police received reports of an active shooter at the school at 7:37 a.m. local time. The first officer arrived within minutes, he said, and “located multiple gunshot victims.”

“We’re still unclear exactly how many are injured or what the extent of those are, but we’re working on that right now,” Infante said, adding: “There is no further danger to the public.

The community is safe. We’re just now working backward trying to figure out everything that happened and then make notifications.”

School had not started yet when the shooting occurred, Infante said, “so luckily there [were] very few students and faculty in the building.”

Another briefing is expected later this afternoon.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Des Moines office said Thursday that its agents have responded to the scene of the shooting in Perry, Iowa, to assist the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

An alert posted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Kansas City, Mo., said that its agents were assisting police in the response to the shooting at Perry High School.

Police respond at Perry High School in Iowa on Thursday. (Andrew Harnick/AP)

Images captured by Associated Press photographer Andrew Harnick show a massive law enforcement response to Thursday’s shooting at Perry High School.

Kevin Shelley told the Associated Press that his 15-year-old son, Zander Shelly, a student at Perry High School, happened to be in a hallway waiting for classes to start when he heard gunshots. He made it to a nearby classroom but was grazed twice. He then texted his dad.

“It was the most scared I’ve been in my entire life,” Kevin Shelley said after telling his boss he had to run.

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