Noblesville students share fears from school shooting, alerts

Local News
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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – “It’s going to be very different how we usually act,” said Noblesville High School sophomore Austin Duncan.

“I bet coming back to school Tuesday is going to be very hard. I don’t think the attitude is going to change much, but it needs to change because there’s been so many school shootings that have happened in the past that it needs to change.” 

That reaction came from Austin after a pupil and teacher were shot Friday morning in Noblesville West Middle School, which was followed by text threat that put Noblesville High School on alert. Police said no credible evidence of a threat was discovered and the lockdown was lifted. No shooting was reported at the high school. 

Austin said a “code red” was issued at the high school during his math class, about 30 seconds after they had learned of the shooting at West Middle School. Students hid wherever they could, as they had been trained to expect the unexpected.

“We never thought it could never happen at the school because our police response time is about three seconds,” Austin said. “It was very tough hearing the sounds that was made in the hallway. People were screaming. Police officers yelling at people.” 

He said students had been taught during a “code red” to shelter in place and arm themselves with whatever was available to throw at a suspect. Duncan said he armed himself with a stapler and other students had iPads.

The sophomore said the hardest part was calling his parents to tell them he was OK. 

A West Middle student, Luke Daniels, said, “We were getting ready to take our speeches for social studies about the world leaders and we heard Mr. (Matthew) Hicks (the assistant principal) come on and say, … ‘This is not a drill. Take cover.’

Noblesville West Middle School students Luke Daniels talks May 25, 2018, after a shooting at his school. (WISH Photo))

“So everybody ran to the corner. And me and (another student) were standing there, so we grabbed a bunch of desks and chairs and threw them over at the door to barricade it so nobody could get in.”

“It was pretty scary, but I knew that if we didn’t barricade the door, something really bad could happen.”

He said his class heard gunshots in the room next door. They could not see anything, though. He said it also sounded like the chairs were dropping. 

Luke said he also saw at least one of the students who had been grazed by a bullet.

Luke said he knows the suspect and described him as a really happy kid, someone Luke never thought would do something like a school shooting. 

Back at the high school, senior Holden Lester was in a computer science class when a “yellow alert” was followed by a “red alert.”

“We all got locked down. We all hid under desks and stuff, at least I did” Holden said. “Nothing really bad happened. There was only ever one time I saw a police officer with big guns and everything.” 

“The whole situation was overwhelming for a little bit. I wanted to leave more than anything,” Holden said.

His sibling, sophomore Kelsey Holden, said she was not worried about the high school alert until students at West Middle School texted her friends that there had been a shooting. 

Another Holden sibling, freshman Hayley, said, “At first it was really scary because, even though we do these drills and things like that, you never really think it would actually happen until it does. What really scared me is that some students in my class had some younger siblings in the West Middle School that were texting and saying, ‘Hey, there’s an intruder in the building.'”

When the “red alert” came, Hayley said she broke down a little bit.

“We didn’t know what was going on,” the freshman said, but she was relieved when she learned it was only a bomb threat at the high school. 

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