May 16, 2018 / 2:56 PM / 5 months ago

Illinois officer shoots, wounds armed suspect at high school

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A police officer assigned to a northern Illinois high school shot and wounded a 19-year-old former student who had brought a gun to the school on Wednesday morning, authorities in the city of Dixon said.

The suspect, who was in police custody, suffered wounds that were not life-threatening, and no one else was hurt in the incident, officials said. Police believe the former student acted alone and that there was no further threat.

“Things could have gone much worse,” Dixon Mayor Liandro Arellano Jr. told a news conference.

All schools in Dixon, a small city about 100 miles (160 km) west of Chicago where former U.S. President Ronald Reagan lived as a boy, were placed on lockdown.

The male suspect fired several shots near the west gym of Dixon High School, and when confronted by the officer, he exited the school and ran, Dixon Police Chief Steven Howell Jr. said at the news conference.

Police did not name the suspect or school resource officer involved in the incident.

With the officer in pursuit, the former student shot several rounds. The officer returned fire and hit the man, Howell said. Shortly afterward, the suspect was taken into custody and was receiving medical attention.

The officer will be put on administrative leave, which is the department’s normal policy, the police chief said.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded and assisted local law enforcement agencies.

Responding officers found that students and staff had barricaded classroom doors with desks, bookcases and other objects as they learned in training, Howell said.

Armed school resource officers have been in the headlines since the Feb. 14 massacre of 17 teens and educators at a Parkland, Florida, high school, where an on-duty resource officer did not confront the gunman, a former student of the school.

In March, a police officer posted at a Maryland high school shot and killed a 17-year-old boy who had opened fire on two fellow students.

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis

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