Authorities on Tuesday said a seventh-grade student was rushed to a hospital after he apparently shot himself in an Ohio middle school boys’ bathroom just before 8 a.m. local time.
Jackson Township Sheriff Mark Brink told reporters the boy’s parents have been notified, and that other students at Jackson Memorial Middle School were safe and unharmed in the incident. Officials locked down the middle school and high school outside Massillon, south of Cleveland, and later released the students, according to news alerts on the school’s website.
It remains unclear whether the student’s wounds were intentional or accidental or what injuries he incurred with the gunshot, which came from a .22 long gun, local media reported.
Speaking with reporters Tuesday afternoon, Brink said the student had a “distraction devices” with him. “It is not a bomb, I can tell you that; (it’s) something you could distract people with for whatever reason,” Brink said, dismissing earlier reports that the student possessed a Molotov cocktail. A distraction device could be used to fool or confuse first responders.
Local journalists recorded photos and videos of anxious parents in visible relief after they arrived to greet their children when the lockdown ended. Superintendent Christopher DiLoreto has not yet determined whether the schools will remain closed Wednesday, WKYC reported.
The incident follows last week’s massacre of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Threats of copycat incidents in at least three states have put school officials and police on alert.