Suspended Student Holds Four Students at Gunpoint
CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (AP) _ A suspended high school student held at least five classmates hostage at gunpoint in a classroom today after allowing his teacher and one student to leave, officials said.
The 17-year-old youth had made no demands and fired no shots, State Police Sgt. Marvin Jenkins said.
″The important thing is we don’t want anybody injured and we don’t think he does either,″ Jenkins said.
Hostage negotiators were at the school; the state police chaplain was flown in from Indianapolis. The boy’s parents and stepfather also were called to the school.
Jenkins said snipers were positioned around the school, but ″We’re not in any great rush to do things.″
Eli Dean, a senior who was suspended twice during the past two weeks, came to school about 11:10 a.m. today with a handgun, officials said.
The rest of the 643 students at Charlestown High School were immediately evacuated onto the school’s football field.
The teacher was released around 1:30 p.m., and the student, a girl, about 30 minutes later, according to Marsha Woods, a spokeswoman for the Greater Clark School Corporation.
After the release, police said four students remained held. Authorities later revised that to at least five hostages.
The youth’s stepfather, Rocky Williams, said he believed Dean had taken his .44-caliber pistol. State police said they did not know what type of weapon the boy had.
Dean was suspended about two weeks ago after he accidentally set off a fire alarm and again last week for breaking a window, Williams said.
″He was falling behind in his school work and was upset″ with school officials, Williams said.
Jenkins said officials had no idea why Dean was holding the hostages.
″Maybe the fact that he’s 17 years old is as much reason as anything,″ Jenkins said.