West Virginia Student Allegedly Takes Hostages at a High School

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Armed student, 14, holds 29 classmates, teacher, hostage at W.Va. high school.

When a “code red” alert first went up at her West Virginia high school, 17-year-old senior Kayla Smith said that no one in her classroom took the warning seriously. In another classroom on the second floor of Philip Barbour High School in Philipi, W.Va., a 14-year-old boy was pointing a gun at a teacher and 29 petrified students. Barbour County Prosecutor Leckta Poling said she plans to pursue unspecified charges against the suspect, but the court process is closed because the unidentified student is a juvenile. As the situation unfolded over the course of two to three hours, the teacher spoke to calm him, buying time for the police to arrive and negotiate the students’ release. Without naming the teacher, Barbour County Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Woofter credited her for maintaining control just when classes were about to change.

Michael Baylous said officials are investigating what could have incited the 14-year-old to come into class with a gun that afternoon, which seemed like an ordinary Tuesday in their small Appalachian town of Philippi. But as the remainder of the 724-student body was evacuated to the football stadium to be sent home, praise streamed in for the teacher and the police chief for helping get everyone out safely. Woofter said Philippi Police Chief Jeff Walters negotiated the release of the students from the classroom and eventually got the suspect to surrender a few hours after it began. Woofter, a former sheriff, said parents were right in following police warnings to stay away from the school. “In such a trying time, I was just amazed at our parents and how everybody responded to the situation,” he said. “I just thank God everybody is safe and hopefully we’ll never have a repeat of that again.” Steve Saltis was among several anxious parents who went to the school and waited outside an area cordoned off by police tape while waiting for students to be released.

Saltis said many students had been sitting in the school’s football stadium after the school was evacuated and that he was able to talk to his daughter.

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