Student Shot At Martinsville’s West Middle School

All Martinsville schools were on lock-down Friday following an early morning shooting at the city’s West Middle School.

  • Parents Wait

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    Photo: Noel Brennan

    Family's meet their children outside the main entrance of Martinsville West Middle School.

  • Durnhil

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    Photo: Alex Roy

    Indiana State Police Sgt. Curt Durnhil delivers information about the shooter and the victim during a press conference Friday afternoon.

  • Mourning

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    Photo: Noel Brennan

    Both mother and daughter shed tears Friday morning after the two were safely reunited.

  • Outside School

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    Photo: Noel Brennan

    Family's wait to pick up their children outside Martinsville West Middle Schools main entrance.

  • Police

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    Photo: Noel Brennan

    A police officer supervises parents who wait in line to pick up their children.

  • Troopers

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    Photo: Alex Roy

    Morgan County Sheriff, Martinsville police and Indiana State Troopers were all present at this afternoon's press conference.

7:00 p.m. update:

Shots fired insider the vestibule area at Martinsville West Middle School Friday morning left one student hospitalized and a former student in police custody.

Sixth grader Rylie Burch said the resulting lockdown left students scared.

“They closed all the blinds, they blocked the windows with paper and they shut the lights off and we weren’t allowed to watch TV or play on the computer.”

The only victim of the shooting was 15-year-old Chance Jackson.  The teen was airlifted from the school to Methodist Hospital where he underwent surgery for his injuries.  State Police Sergeant Curt Durnil said Jackson is currently in critical but stable condition.

“We have one person in custody who we believe is the shooter,” Durnil said. “He is a male, was a student here, was suspended or expelled from school earlier this week.”

Some parents and students say attention now turns to Martinsville School administrators following rumors the shooter posted messages on his Facebook account days ago, perhaps revealing his intentions.

“Our teacher updated us,” Kylie Burch said. “She said the guy on Facebook, he wrote ‘today was the day,’ and nobody knew what it meant and they said ‘what are you talking about?’ and he said ‘you’ll find out later.’”

Martinsville School administrators did not address these rumors in Friday afternoon’s press conference.  Assistant Superintendent Randy Taylor says the Middle School did its best to keep the students safe.

“We all hope a situation like today will never happen,” Taylor said, “But unfortunately today it did.  We had a plan in place and we carried out that plan keeping the well-being of our students as a top priority.”

Parent Brenda Sample says she’s just happy to have her kids near her and unharmed.

“Sickening. You feel sick,” Sample said. “You’re worried. You’re scared. You don’t know if they’re OK.  It’s horrible.”

10:30 a.m. update:

All Martinsville schools are on lock-down at this hour following an early morning shooting at the city’s West Middle School.

Indiana State Police Sergeant Curt Durnil said both the victim and the suspect in the shooting are male students at West Middle School, though the suspect had been suspended from school two days ago.  The victim was taken by Lifeline helicopter to Indianapolis’ Methodist Hospital, but Durnil did not know his condition.  Durnil said the motive for the shooting is also unclear.

“We’re interviewing all witnesses, all students, anybody that has any information for us, we’re definitely interviewing,” Durnil said. “We’re looking at all types of social media – anything that we can get our hands on to say this is why this happened, or this could be the reason.”

Durnil said police are unsure whether the shooting was directed at the victim or was a random act of violence.

“We do know that the student brought a gun to school, but we don’t know if this was the student he was targeting, we don’t know if that was the first student he saw, we don’t know if there was some type of [altercation].  We just don’t know what is going on, but we are going to find out.”

Local and state police are coordinating the investigation with help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Durnil said Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega has yet to file charges against the suspect.  It’s possible the suspect’s name will be released at that time.

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