Authorities expect the 14-year-old victim of a middle school shooting in Southeast Atlanta to leave Grady Hospital tonight, and they credit an armed school resource officer for subduing and arresting the shooter.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said an off-duty Atlanta police officer was the first to respond to the 1:50 p.m. shooting at Price Middle School, around three miles south of Georgia State University.
After multiple shots were fired, one striking a victim in the back of the head, the school officer disarmed a middle-school aged suspect and took him into custody, Turner said.
However, school officials do not know if the suspect was present at school before the shooting, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Enroll Davis said. Because of the school’s small size of around 400 students, Davis said it was likely the students knew each other, though the cause of the incident remains unknown.
In addition to the armed resource officer, the Atlanta schools superintendent confirmed Price was equipped with metal detectors, which he said should have detected the student’s weapon when entering the campus.
“The obvious question, of course, is how did this get past a metal detector? That’s something we do not know,” Davis said.
Following the incident, APS and APD officials put the school into a “hard lockdown,” sending students into the cafeteria and sweeping the building with tactical units under standard emergency procedures. Parents were alerted via automated calls, though Davis said the schools may have not reached everyone due to outdated listings.
Local area schools were also supposed to release on time, though students were eventually delayed from leaving, even if accompanied by their parents, until the threat was totally accessed.
“We understand that we can never release the students as quickly as some of the parents would like,” Davis explained. “It took additional time in releasing the students to ensure that all safety and security procedures were followed.”