Shooting closes schoolsPublished 10:22am Monday, June 3, 2013
A 14-year-old former student apparently shot himself early this morning as police closed in in the woods east of Dowagiac Middle School.
At 6:40 a.m. a custodian confronted the subject and called 911, Public Safety Director Tom Atkinson said at a press conference at the Council on Aging’s Front Street Crossing.
The principal arrived and attempted to make contact with the person, who appeared to have a handgun as he headed into the woods.
Officers arrived and set up a perimeter to attempt to locate the individual.
When officers heard a single gunshot, they located the youth with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“The victim was taken to a local hospital,” Atkinson said, “where his condition was unknown. All Dowagiac schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution. This appears to be an isolated incident. Police are continuing to investigate. This is an ongoing investigation. We’re being assisted by the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Pokagon tribal police, Michigan State Police and the Edwardsburg-Ontwa Township Police Department.”
Supt. Dr. Mark Daniel said, “We do realize this was a former student of ours. As such, we wanted to insure for all students in Dowagiac schools that this wasn’t a connected case, so we did go with a closing today. That’s a precaution. All of our secondary students were on their buses. We placed them in a holding pattern and they have been returned to their homes. Elementary students had not yet reported. Until this investigation is complete, we will remain closed for the rest of the day.”
“He was a student last year,” Daniel said, “but has not been a student at all this year.”
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said, “Clearly, this is a very serious matter. As the chief indicated, this does appear to be an isolated incident. However, it’s prudent for law enforcement to take this in a very serious way and to consider it as an open investigation. Because of that, information released today will be limited. The scene has been secured. We’re appreciative of the quick response of both law enforcement and the school system. Information in these types of incidents is always helpful before, during and after an episode such as this. We encourage anyone, whether a student or a member of the public, to call our tip line if you do have further information” at 1-800-462-9328.
“At this time,” Fitz said, “law enforcement has the matter under control.”
Officials anticipated another briefing at 11:30.