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Home / Articles / Today / National Today /  Student holding hostages shoots himself after police storm classroom
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Tuesday, November 30,2010

Student holding hostages shoots himself after police storm classroom

By McClatchy-Tribune News Service

MILWAUKEE — In a dramatic ending to a more than five-hour standoff, a 15-year-old Wisconsin high school student armed with two handguns shot himself Monday after police stormed a classroom where he held 23 students and a teacher hostage.

Five hostages were allowed to leave the Marinette High School classroom about 7:40 p.m. to use the restroom. Then shortly after 8 p.m., police stationed outside the classroom heard three shots and burst into the room to find the suspect at the head of the class, where he shot himself. The remaining students and the teacher then left the classroom safely, Marinette Police Chief Jeff Skorik said.

"The game plan all along was to have the hostage-taker leave the room without any injuries," Skorik said. "It was only after the three gunshots that officers became concerned with the safety of students and breached the door."

The suspect was taken to Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette, about 50 miles north of Green Bay. Skorik said his condition and the location of his wound were not available. Police have not been able to determine a motive, he said.

"The suspect fired one shot," injuring himself, Skorik said.

"We have no idea as far as motivations at this point," he said.

A 911 call reporting the situation was received shortly before 4 p.m., prompting a response from numerous law enforcement agencies, including police, Marinette County sheriff's deputies, the Wisconsin State Patrol, Michigan law enforcement and Wisconsin Emergency Management, Skorik said.

The hostage-taker refused to talk with police, who were in contact with the female teacher throughout the incident, Skorik said.

Skorik said that two guns — a .22-caliber semiautomatic and a 9 mm semiautomatic — were recovered from the classroom and that spent cartridges found at the scene indicated that both weapons were fired.

Students in the classroom told investigators that shots also had been fired before police arrived, Skorik said.

The identity of the armed student was not released, but Skorik confirmed that he was part of the class that he took hostage.

Marinette High School will remain closed Tuesday, and officials were not sure when it would reopen, Marinette School District Superintendent Timothy Baneck said. He said counseling for students was being arranged.

Indications are the crisis began well before authorities were notified.

Dan Kitkowski, regional editor for the Marinette Eagle Herald and the parent of a Marinette High School senior, told a Journal Sentinel reporter that the situation unfolded during a sixth period Western Civilization class that began between 1:30 and 2 p.m.

Kitkowski's daughter and other students enrolled in the class the following period were turned away at the door to the classroom by the teacher, who told them to go to the school's library.

"She (the teacher) looked a little nervous, but nobody thought anything of it," Kitkowski said .

His daughter returned to the classroom after school to retrieve some homework but found the door locked, he said.

It wasn't until she got outside and saw police and firefighters arriving that she found out about the situation in the classroom, Kitkowski said.

Marinette, a town of about 12,000 people, sits on the border with Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The high school has an enrollment of about 800 students, according to its website.

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(c) 2010, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Visit JSOnline, the Journal Sentinel's World Wide Web site, at http://www.jsonline.com/.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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