Originally posted on IdahoEdNews.org on May 6, 2021
RIGBY — Three people were shot at Rigby Middle School on Thursday morning, Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson confirmed at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Two of those injured are students and one is an adult custodian at the school, Anderson announced at the Jefferson County School District. All of the victims were injured with gunfire, but sustained non life-threatening injuries.
The custodian has been treated and released from Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, and the students will be held overnight and potentially dismissed Friday, the hospital’s trauma medical director Michael Lemon said.
The suspected shooter, a female sixth-grader at the school, is in custody and could face up to three counts of attempted murder, Jefferson County prosecuting attorney Mark Taylor said during the press conference.
The suspected shooter used a pistol during the ordeal.
Anderson said a teacher “disarmed and detained” the student until law enforcement took her into custody.
Idaho State Police, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, FBI and other local agencies are still investigating the shooting, Anderson said.
Schools will be closed district-wide Friday, but school counselors will remain available, the Jefferson School District announced Thursday afternoon.
“This is the worst nightmare a school district could face,” said Jefferson County School District Superintendent Chad Martin.
A long row of vehicles had formed outside the school at 10:30 a.m., where parents lined up to pick up their children, who had been relocated to nearby Rigby High.
Some families embraced in the middle school parking lot. Others held hands as they left the high school within hours of the shootings.
“I couldn’t breathe,” Christina Negrete, 38, said after receiving a call from her daughter that someone at the school had been shot.
Sixth-grader Lucy Long retraced the ordeal, telling EdNews that she heard gunshots near her classroom around 9 a.m., followed by loud bangs on the door. Someone locked the door and turned out the lights, while students hid against the wall.
Long, who flashed an audio recording of the ordeal, hoped to capture some of events inside the classroom, so “police, teachers and parents would know what happened if something bad happened.”
Wolfe, who said reports of shots fired at the school came in around 9:12 a.m., would not comment on the firearm used or provide details about the shooter.
Nearby Ririe School District continued classes under a shelter-in-place order as “a precautionary measure” when the news broke, according to the district’s website. That order has since been lifted, and classes are continuing as normal, the district tweeted at 10:50 a.m.
Officials from around the state offered written statements on the shootings Thursday morning.
“My prayers are with those injured this morning at Rigby Middle School,” wrote Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra. “I am grateful to our first responders and school staff who are working to deal with this terrible incident. I will do everything I can to support the district and the community moving forward.”
The Idaho Education Association offered support and wished those involved a “full and rapid recovery.”
Gov. Brad Little issued a statement on Twitter.
I am praying for the lives and safety of those involved in today’s tragic events. Thank you to our law enforcement agencies and school leaders for their efforts in responding to the incident. I am staying updated on the situation. https://t.co/IF4ECgWhaV
— Brad Little (@GovernorLittle) May 6, 2021
Rep. Mike Simpson, who represents East Idaho in Congress, took to Twitter, too.
I am monitoring the heartbreaking events in Rigby today and my heart goes out to all of those involved in this tragedy. To the first responders and our heroic teachers and faculty who are keeping our children safe, thank you. https://t.co/CjZqWic5Ug
— Cong. Mike Simpson (@CongMikeSimpson) May 6, 2021
This is at least the third shooting in an Idaho school, and possibly the first to inflict serious injuries. In 1999, a Notus student fired a shotgun twice in a junior-senior high school, but missed students and was apprehended, according to Deseret News. One student was injured by ricocheting debris.
In 1989, a student at Rigby Junior High pulled a gun, threatened a teacher and students, and took a 14-year-old girl hostage, the AP reported, citing Deseret News.
In that incident, the girl was rescued and the shooter was taken into custody; no one was injured.
A five-hour standoff between an armed student and police also ended peacefully in Pocatello in 1998.
Idaho EdNews reporters Devin Bodkin and Blake Jones contributed to this developing story; check back for updates.