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'I never thought it would happen here:' Oshkosh community reacts to police shooting at school

Posted at 7:50 PM, Dec 03, 2019

OSHKOSH — Oshkosh police say a school resource officer and a student were injured in an officer-involved shooting at Oshkosh West High School Tuesday morning.

Police Chief Dean Smith said they got a call around 9:15 a.m. from the school resource officer requesting an ambulance.

“It was determined that there was an altercation at the SRO’s office between the officer and a 16-year-old student,” Smith said.

According to Smith, the student stabbed the school resource officer with a sharp weapon, leading the officer to take out his gun and shoot the student one time.

Both the officer and student were taken to the hospital. Smith said their injuries are not life-threatening.

No one else was hurt.

The school immediately went into lockdown with multiple agencies responding to the scene and students evacuating to nearby Perry Tipler Middle School.

Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright said the school went followed their emergency, “ALICE protocols of Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.”

Senior, Bryanna Hopkins heard the gunshot in her creative writing class.

“We heard the thump and we just didn’t think anything of it,” Hopkins said.

Moments later she said teachers were yelling to evacuate.

“I saw kids running and that’s kind of when fight or flight hit and chose flight, and I just ran out of there,” Hopkins said.

Parents like Donna Goeden, raced to pick up their kids, fearing the worst.

“It was like, ‘oh my God, what happened?” Goeden said. “You just worry about everybody and you hope they’re okay.”

They waited in long lines for hours until they could finally reunite and see their kids were okay, holding them extra tight.

It was a sudden end of a school day that left this community in shock.

“I was talking like with all of my friends and they’re like, ‘I never thought it would happen here.’ You hear about it but you never think anything of it,” junior, Sydney Golden said.

Unfortunately, it’s an occurrence heard over and over again in recent years.

“It’s horrible to say but you kind of always think in the back of your mind like ‘oh geez when is ours going to be next?’ And it happened,” Hopkins said.

“It’s weird cause you see it all the time on the news and stuff and then think that it’ll never happen to you and then it does, and you just don’t know what to think about it. You’re just in shock,” sophomore, Kaiden Alexander added.

In time, the community will find a way to heal, but right now they remain on edge.

“This is a tragedy. This is something that no school district, no city, no community wants to face, but together we’re going to come through, we’re going to make everybody whole,” Smith said.

Cartwright thanked the school resource officer for his actions.

“Today’s tragic event shows that trained school resource officers can help save lives,” Cartwright said.

A motive remains unclear.

Because the incident involved an Oshkosh officer, the investigation was turned over to the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation.

Oshkosh schools will be closed on Wednesday. The district said it will be providing counseling to families over the coming days.

About 1,700 students attend Oshkosh West High School.

The shooting comes just one day after a school resource officer at Waukesha South High School shot a 17-year-old armed student who refused to drop his weapon.