Students: Teacher restrained shooting suspect

BALTIMORE, Md. (WMAR) - Baltimore County Police were called to the scene of a shooting at Perry Hall High School, and Perry Hall Middle School was quickly designated as a helicopter landing site.

Officials say the shooter, a 15-year-old male, was taken into custody. They say the firearm used in the shooting has also been recovered. Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson said investigators are looking into a Facebook page that may have been the shooter's.

Students claiming to witness the incident say a teacher restrained the suspect. Police confirm the heroic act of the staff member identified as school guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer .

"I want to make sure word gets out that we have some heroic and brave faculty members here at Perry Hall High School," Baltimore County School District Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance said at a press conference Monday afternoon. "...We really want to congratulate them and let the public know that the crisis plan that's in place at Perry Hall High School was in fact followed today."

Students were escorted to Perry Hall Shopping Center at the corner of Ebenezer Road and Belair Road. Parents can be reunited with their children there. Students were also taken to the fields behind Perry Hall Middle School located at 4300 Ebenezer Road. Students riding buses will be dismissed from that location.

Baltimore County School Emergency Response Protocol

Investigators say the shooting was a random act. It reportedly happened in the school cafeteria at 10:45 a.m. during the first lunch period. Officials say they believe the shooter was in the cafeteria and being teased.

Several roads in the area were blocked in response to the incident, and the school was been placed on lockdown. Officers with the US Marshals and the Maryland State Police were called in to help manage the incident.

"I just want to offer reassurance to everyone that the police department has the situation well under control," said Baltimore County executive Kevin Kamenetz. "It was an isolated incident involving one particular individual. ...The school system acted properly, was able to move the children out of harms way immediately and according to established protocol. The students have all reacted in an appropriate and responsible manner."

Kamenetz said there is much to be said about the faculty members at Perry Hall High School. He said without their actions either directly or indirectly, "more harm could have occurred."

View photos from the incident at Perry Hall High School

Parents on the scene say they have heard the shooting suspect was armed with a shotgun. They also say they have been told the suspect left the school and came back with a gun. ABC2 has yet to confirm that information.

According to a release from the Baltimore County Police Department, one student, a 17-year-old male, was shot and taken to a local hospital by helicopter. The victim is currently in critical condition, according to hospital officials. Students claiming to witness the incident say the gunman appeared to be shooting at a table of special needs students.

As school administrators responded to the shooting, classrooms were locked, darkened and students were told to get on the floor. ABC2 news interviewed Traci Graft, a parent of a student at the school who confirmed the response.

Graft said today has been one of the scariest days of her life.

"I couldn't get here fast enough," she said.

A junior at Perry Hall High School, who identified herself as Leslie, said students in class at first thought the day's incident was a drill. But, they found out quickly something very real was happening.

"...It was more serious than that," Leslie said.

Leslie said students knew things were real, because they could hear the nervousness in the voices of administrators as they provided instructions.

Perry Hall Middle School was also dismissed early in response to the incident.

About 2,200 students attend Perry Hall High School.

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Check back with ABC2 News as we continue to develop this story.

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