A 15-year-old student suspected of firing a gun in Bountiful, Utah, is in custody, and police cited the quick-thinking actions of a student, teacher and the boy’s own parents as the reason no one was seriously hurt or killed.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Bountiful Police Department Chief Tom Ross said the student fired one shot into the ceiling of a classroom at Mueller Park Junior High, then pointed the firearm at his own neck, KTLA sister station KSTU in Salt Lake City reported.
“A teacher and a student in that room immediately engaged him verbally in trying to talk him out of doing this,” Chief Ross said. “I believe those seconds played a big role on the outcome.”
Ross believes that interjection delayed the boy long enough for his parents to move in and disarm the teen. He added the parents were about two classrooms away when the shot was fired.
They had come down to the school after noticing unusual behavior in their son Thursday morning.
“As he left to go to school… they started checking to see if weapons or anything were missing from the home,” Ross said. They noticed two guns were gone and headed off to the junior high campus.
Police found those two loaded firearms on the teen, a 12-gauge shotgun and a 9mm handgun, as well as one box of ammunition for each gun, according to Ross. The teen brought the weapons into school by concealing them underneath a long coat.
He did not say a word during the ordeal, and at no time did he point a weapon toward anyone other than himself.
After the student and teacher stalled the student, Ross said the teen’s parents arrived just in time to get the guns away.
“They brought the son out into the hallway where our first arriving officer was able to take him into custody,” he explained.
Ross added that when he first heard the report of shots being fired in a school, authorities feared what would ensue.
“I was expecting much worse than what happened,” he said. “To have this event unfold at a junior high school and have no injuries- including to the suspect- is pretty amazing.”
The teen has been booked into a juvenile detention facility in Farmington on several charges, including two counts of felony theft of a firearm and two counts of misdemeanor transporting weapons. More charges could be filed as the investigation continued, according to the police chief.
Ross said they are still trying to determine a motive and the student’s intentions. Because he is a juvenile, his name is not being released at this time.
The Davis County School District said they brought in 20 grief counselors to help students cope with the situation.