A 14-year-old boy was taken into custody Tuesday after holding his teacher and classmates hostage at a high school in West Virginia, and police credit his teacher for calming him down. The teen allegedly pulled out a gun on a second-floor classroom in Philip Barbour High School in Philippi, West Virginia.
Authorities praised the unnamed teacher’s actions who kept the teen calm and talked him into not letting another set of students enter the classroom, according to Associated Press. Those students informed administrators of the situation who then called 911.
Jeffrey Woofter, Barbour County Schools Superintendent, praised the teacher for her efforts. “The teacher did a miraculous job, calming the student, maintaining order in the class,” Woofter said.
The teacher’s words helped keep the teen under control until the police chief could arrive. From there, the chief convinced the boy to let his classmates go and surrender.
Woofter thanked Philippi Police Chief Jeff Walters’ for his efforts as well, PEOPLE reports. Chief Walters did “an awesome job negotiating with this very troubled young man,” Woofter said.
Authorities received the report of someone with a gun in the school at 1:30 p.m., Fox News reports. The school was placed on lock down, while all other students were moved to the football stadium and sent home by bus. Parent Steve Stalis was among many others waiting for their children in an area marked off by police tape. Stalis said that he was able to speak to his daughter, but officials would not tell him or other parents anything about what was going on inside the building.
Woofter said that he was “amazed” by how the parents handled the situation. “I just thank God everybody is safe and hopefully we’ll never have a repeat of that again,” Woofter added.
Police did not say how long the hostages were held, but they had the situation under control by 3:30 p.m. Kayla Smith, a 17-year-old senior, said that most of her classmates did not take the “code red” warning seriously. But when they realized it was serious, Smith said, “we all held hands and said a prayer.”
Barbour County Prosecutor Leckta Poling says she will pursue unspecified charges against the suspect. Since the case involves a juvenile, it will be closed. The unidentified student was taken to the hospital for evaluation, according to Fox.