A student was killed and five other people were wounded when a 17-year-old boy opened fire at an Iowa school on the first day of classes following the Christmas break, law enforcement officials have said.
The suspect was identified as Dylan Butler, a student a tPerry High School, officials said at a news briefing. He was later found dead by responding officers.
Police also discovered an improvised explosive device when searching the high school yesterday, Mitch Mortvedt, an assistant director with the state Department of Criminal Investigation, told reporters.
Members of the state fire marshal’s office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives rendered the device safe.
Perry, a town of about 7,900, is about 64km northwest of Des Moines, the state’s capital city. The middle and high schools share a single campus.
The attack took place just after 7.30am local time, before most students and faculty had entered the building.
Butler was armed with a pump-action shotgun and a handgun, Mr Mortvedt said.
The teenager made several social media posts around the time of the shooting, Mr Mortvedt said without offering specific details. His motive was under investigation, he said.
Four of the wounded victims are students, and the fifth is a school administrator, said Mr Mortvedt, who declined to release any names. Another school district, Easton Valley, issued a statement saying it had received word that Dan Marburger, the high school principal, was the administrator shot in the attack.
One victim was in critical condition but did not appear to be facing life-threatening injuries, Mr Mortvedt said, while the other four were in stable condition.
“This senseless tragedy has shaken our entire state to the core, and I want this community to know that every Iowan stands with you” Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said at the new briefing.
FBI agents from the Omaha-Des Moines office were assisting in the investigation, and US Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting, a Justice Department spokesperson said.
“We cannot allow these tragedies to continue,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “We have to do something.”
The Iowa shooting, on the district’s first day of classes in 2024, is part of a national epidemic of gun violence in US schools that has worsened in recent years.
There were 346 incidents in which a gun was brandished or fired at school or a bullet hit school property in 2023, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database.
That was the highest of any year in the website’s data, which goes back to 1966, and represented the third record-setting year in a row.
Four such incidents have already taken place in 2024, just four days into the year, according to the site.