The Richmond Community Schools district announced Thursday that there was "an active shooter situation" at Indiana's Dennis Intermediate School and that all students were in lockdown. Shortly afterward, the Indiana State Police tweeted that the teenage shooting suspect had died, but that no other students were hurt.
"All students at Dennis Intermediate School are safe," the district tweeted. "Only the suspect is injured." Subsequent posts noted that Dennis students were being sent to Civic Hall at the local high school to get picked up by their parents, while all other schools in the district would resume classes as normal.
Richmond's Palladium-Item reported that an "incident" involving the shooting suspect had taken place outside of school property around 8:20 a.m. ET. The teenager then ran to the middle school. A later update to the paper's story noted that police arrived at around the same time as the suspect and traded fire, after which the teen ran into the school. He took his life after encountering police again inside.
"The police response was exactly as it should have been," Jim Branum, head of the Richmond Police Department, said on Thursday. "Everybody here was prepared for a confrontation."
John Bowling of the Indiana State Police noted that law enforcement had received a tip that enabled them to deal with the incident appropriately. "Someone knew something and said something," he said, per ABC. "The school was able to follow procedure to help protect students."
One parent expressed anger to the Palladium-Item that the school hadn't prevented the event from occurring in the first place. "The kids have been talking about this kid for a week," she said. "[Administrators] look past things. They don't think this is going to happen, and then it happens."
A grandmother of a student told WRTV that her "heart is aching for all these parents," per ABC. "You wouldn't think [in] a small town like Richmond this would happen ... I don't know what's wrong with this new generation."
Earlier on Thursday, the Guardian published a report on new statistics on gun violence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC data shows that nearly 40,000 people died in shootings in the United States last year and that deaths from guns are at the highest level in over two decades. Around 60 percent of those killed died by suicide.
Another recent study from the Jama Network analyzed gun deaths around the world between 1990 and 2016 and found that over half of them took place within six nations, one of which was the United States. The others were Venezuela, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, and Colombia.
Democrats have suggested that they will take on the issue of gun violence once they assume control of the House; they've raised the idea of universal background checks, bump stock bans, and more. NPR reports that many liberals joining Congress in January were endorsed by pro-gun control organizations like Giffords PAC and Everytown for Gun Safety. Since Americans are slowly coming around to the idea of gun control, they just might be able to get some of their proposals passed.