NewsPublic Affairs / May 25, 2018

Noblesville School Shooting: Suspect In Custody, 1 Student In Critical Condition, 1 Teacher In Good Condition

Noblesville School Shooting: Suspect In Custody, 1 Student In Critical Condition, 1 Teacher In Good Condition

Noblesville Police Lt. Bruce Barnes addresses the media hours after a shooting at Noblesville West Middle School on Friday, May 25, 2018.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

Updated: May 26 at 7:10 p.m.

By INDIANA PUBLIC MEDIA NEWS STAFF & Associated Press

A student is in critical, but stable condition and a teacher has been released from the hospital after they were injured in a shooting at Noblesville West Middle School Friday morning. A male student is in custody and is the only suspect in the shooting.

An IU Health representative confirmed Saturday afternoon that teacher Jason Seaman, 29, is no longer a patient at Methodist Hospital. Ella Whistler, 13, is being treated at Riley Hospital for Children. Her family released a statement at 10:38 p.m. Friday saying she is "doing well."

"Our daughter, Ella Whistler, was involved in a horrific shooting today at her school.  We will spend the next days and weeks processing what happened and why.  But first, we wanted to say she is doing well at Riley Hospital for Children.  Her status is critical, yet we are pleased to report she is stable.  We’d like to thank everyone across the country who prayed for our family today.  We’ve felt those prayers and appreciate each of them.  We’d also like to thank the first responders, Noblesville police, Indiana State Police and the medical staff and surgeons at Riley.  Please do not contact our family for further comment at this time.  We appreciate you respecting our privacy as we support Ella in her recovery."


Noblesville Police Lt. Bruce Barnes says the unnamed male student asked to be excused from a classroom Friday morning, then returned with two handguns and opened fire.

Jowitt says police were first alerted at 9:06 a.m. and the student was quickly taken into custody. An NPD statement says a School Resource Officer from the NPD was in the building at the time of the shooting, and “he immediately responded to the area where it was believed that the active shooter was located.”

 

Seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker says the class was taking a test when the student started shooting. He says Jason Seaman, the injured teacher, likely prevented the shooter from harming more students.

“He took about four to six shots not aiming at anyone specifically like he was waving his hand around,” Stonebraker says. “Then we saw one girl fall to the ground and Mr. Seaman, our science teacher, immediately ran at him, swatted the gun out of his hand, knocked the gun to the ground.”

Jason Seaman’s brother Jeremy, of Arizona, says the teacher underwent surgery after being shot three times when he intervened.

Jeremy Seaman tells The Indianapolis Star that his brother was conscious after the shooting and talked with his wife, telling her he was OK.

He says his brother was a defensive end for Southern Illinois University’s football team and has never been a person to run away.

Thirteen-year-old Chris Navarro, an eighth grader, says he was in an auditorium when he heard gunshots about a minute before the bell rang for the change in classes. He says a lock down was immediately announced over the school’s speaker. He rushed into a small room with three other people to hide.

Jowitt also says an unrelated threat was made against Noblesville High School, prompting a brief lock down. An investigation found no threat.

Students were transported to the Noblesville High School field house to reunite with their families.

“Our hearts go out to everyone that’s been involved in this horrific tragedy,” says Superintendent Beth Niedermeyer.

Mayor John Ditslear (R-Noblesville) says his heart is breaking.

“We’ve had these shootings around the country, you just never think it can happen in Noblesville, Indiana, and it did,” he says.

What We Know About The Suspect

The alleged shooter could face charges next week in Hamilton County juvenile court. Police say they’ve obtained several search warrants as part of the ongoing investigation.

Law enforcement agents have sealed off part of an upscale neighborhood while they investigate.

A Noblesville police vehicle was parked at the entrance of a culdesac in the tree-lined neighborhood near Morse Reservoir on Friday afternoon. FBI personnel milled about at the end of a shady driveway leading to a home obscured by large trees.

Officers only allowed access of the area to landscaping crews that arrived after the street was blocked.

A member of one crew, Sandy McWilliams, says she was working outside a house three doors away when she looked up and saw six officers enter the home with assault rifles.

Noblesville Police Lt. Bruce Barnes declined to say whether the male student was targeting anyone. He said the suspected shooter wasn’t injured and wouldn’t comment on whether the student had been in trouble before.


Vice President, State Leaders Respond

Gov. Eric Holcomb was on his way back to Indiana after a trip to Europe at the time of the shooting Friday morning. He said he was monitoring the situation with state legislative leaders from the air.

“Approximately 100 state police officers have been made available to work with local responders and will offer all assistance needed,” Holcomb says in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this horrible situation.”

State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick says her office was in contact with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

“We have confidence in Noblesville Schools Superintendent Dr. Beth Niedermeyer and her team, law enforcement, and first responders,” McCormick says in a statement. “The Department stands ready to provide guidance and support and we will provide further statements as information unfolds.”

The Indiana State Teachers Association released a statement calling for action to “keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.”

“This national crisis has landed in our backyard. We all have a responsibility to keep our kids safe from violence, and it’s unconscionable that they live in fear that one day their school may be next. When is enough, enough?” the statement says.

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