Oshkosh joins communities shaken by a shooting at school as students, parents describe scare
By Sarah Razner Oshkosh Northwestern
OSHKOSH – Students heard gunshots and ambulances.
Teachers rushed them into classrooms, switched off the lights and they all hunkered down until it was safe to leave the building.
Parents saw messages from the school about an “officer-involved shooting” at Oshkosh West High School and heard from their own kids that they were in lockdown, hiding out until the building was evacuated and students were sent to Perry Tipler Middle School.
Freshman Emery Erickson ran more than a half-mile in an Oshkosh West blue T-shirt and shorts to reach Tipler. He and his classmates were lined up to begin gym class when teachers told them to run. As fast as they could, they fled to the middle school, where they waited in the gym to be reunited with family.
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“It’s terrible that happened,” Erickson said, after he learned that a school resource officer and student had been injured in a confrontation that involved a shooting. “But I’m glad there’s not that many people that got injured, and I hope that everyone who did get injured is OK and that everyone is fine.”
Oshkosh West High School and its staff, students and parents Tuesday became the latest to experience a school shooting, one day after another high school in Wisconsin was involved in a similar incident. The shootings at Waukesha South on Monday and Oshkosh West were among nearly 100 incidents of gunfire on school property in the U.S. this year, according to the activist group Everytown.
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, a non-profit founded in 2006, tracks incidents of gun violence across the United States. Included in its count of gun violence on schools are any incident in which a live round is fired inside or into a school building or on a school’s campus.
Its count, last updated with the Waukesha shooting, said the incidents have resulted in 26 deaths and 60 injuries.
— Rafiq A. TSCHANNEN (@MuslimPoly) December 5, 2019
It was unclear Tuesday how the confrontation started between the Oshkosh student and the officer. Authorities said the 16-year-old student stabbed the officer, who then shot the teen, but both were expected to survive.
What was clear was that the violence shook the community.
Rachel Molash was still in line outside Tipler Middle School about two hours after the shooting, waiting to get inside to pick up her ninth-grader. She still hadn’t heard from her child, but her husband had.
As a mother to children in elementary school, one in middle school, and one at the high school, Molash said she knows the schools “prepare and prepare” for this — but she described that fact as “sad enough.”
To have it actually happen in a small community like Oshkosh, she said, is terrifying.
Saad Ahmad, a finance secretary at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Mosque, said his daughter called him Tuesday morning to say she had unlocked doors to the mosque to let in students who ran from Oshkosh West across the street to seek shelter.
By the time Ahmad arrived soon after, more than 100 students filled the mosque. Staff at the mosque took down partitions to accommodate more and offered refreshments to comfort them.
The incident was traumatic for students, Ahmad said, but if there was a silver lining, it was that teachers were with them right away, and could coordinate from there. Students and teachers stayed in the mosque until they loaded onto buses and evacuated to the middle school.
In the wake of the incident, Ahmad said he feels “speechless.” Events like these felt distant when he’d seen them on the news before. Now, they are not.
“I hope we get through this and this is the last (incident) to happen here,” he said.
Mark Treinen contributed to this report.
Contact Sarah Razner at 920-907-7909 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @misssarahrazner.
VIDEO FOOTAGE: A knife attack/shooting takes place at a school today in Oshkosh, Wisconsin & it’s a MOSQUE of the Ahmadiyya MUSLIM Community across the street which immediately gives 100+ students safe harbor. @jaketapper @IlhanMN @AOC @mehdirhasan @maddowpic.twitter.com/Qq27XqhVDy
— MuslimMarine (@mansoortshams) December 4, 2019