School back in session at Italy ISD following shooting

Published: Jan. 23, 2018 at 6:26 AM CST
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School is back in session at Italy ISD Tuesday morning, following a shooting in their high school cafeteria on Monday.

ATF agents made a pass through the school Tuesday morning before students arrived.

The Ellis County Sheriff's Captain said the sweep of the school is simply a precaution. They say they want students and parents to feel safe. Italy Independent School District Superintendent Lee Joffre says grief counselors will be on campus Tuesday to help students deal with what some of them witnessed.

On Monday evening, about 300 people packed a church in the small North Texas community to pray for the girl who was wounded in that shooting at Italy High School.

The vigil Monday night at Central Baptist Church was held to bring comfort to residents in the town of about 2,000 in the wake of the shooting.

Authorities have a 16-year-old boy in custody as a suspect in the shooting of the 15-year-old girl.

A fellow student says the suspect has been violent at school in the past.

Cassie Shook tells The Associated Press that she was just arriving at Italy High School when the shooting happened Monday morning. The 17-year-old says she saw the cafeteria doors fly open and a rush of students running out after a girl was shot. Police say the victim is hospitalized.

Shook says she had complained about the suspect at least twice before to school officials, including a vice principal. She says the first time was after he allegedly made a "hit list" in eighth grade and her name was on it.

Then last year, she says the boy got angry during a class and threw a pair of scissors at a different girl. She says he also threw a computer against a wall. Shook says police came to talk to the class. She says the boy was removed from the school but eventually was allowed back.

Police have not named the 16-year-old suspect.

School officials say they cannot comment on disciplinary actions involving students.

Officials say the suspect "engaged the victim" and fired several shots from a handgun before being confronted by a school district staffer and fleeing.

Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge didn't say how many times the 15-year-old victim was shot Monday but the girl was airlifted to a Dallas hospital.

Edge says the male suspect fired a semi-automatic .380 handgun. The teen fled the cafeteria after the confrontation with a staffer but was arrested by law enforcement on school grounds.

Edge says a possible motive is unclear. He also says he doesn't yet know what charges the suspect might face.

Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald of the Ellis County Sheriff's Office says he doesn't know how many students were in the Italy High School cafeteria when the shooting happened there Monday morning.

Fitzgerald and school district superintendent Lee Joffre said at a news conference that they don't know the relationship between the boy and girl. Neither knows the girl's condition.