Shaken school community back in class after fatal shooting on school grounds

Shaken school community back in class after fatal shooting on school grounds

EUGENE, Ore. - Josh Hull doesn't have a 5th period class, so the Churchill High School senior was at home just before 3 p.m. Wednesday when he started getting text messages from friends asking if he was OK.

Hull drove back to Churchill to pick up his younger brother. By the time he got home, his mother had got a phone call with the news:

The school had locked down at the request of a police officer facing an armed suspect.

By evening, all Eugene knew the basics: an officer pulled a man over. The man had a gun. Some sort of struggle ensued, and the 44-year-old suspect had been shot dead in a parking lot at the school.

Churchill had counselors available for students shaken by what they had seen or heard Wednesday.

Ryan Scott, director of Vista Counseling, said parents whose children feel stress or anxiety after Wednesday's shooting should let them feel their feelings and let them know that what happened was out of the ordinary - and that unusual situations like that one shouldn't change their day-to-day routine.

Scott said one of the best things to do is be present and available to your kids. He said high school-aged youth may not tell their parents how they're feeling, but being there lets them know they can.

The exact sequence of events won't be fully known until a special task force completes a state-mandated deadly force investigation.

The district attorney expects to know more about what happened by next week, possibly as soon as Wednesday. The DA is also responsible for ruling on whether the officer's use of deadly force was justified.

According to police, the officer called for backup at 2:45 p.m. The officer also called for a lockdown at nearby schools. Both Churchill and Kennedy Middle School locked down.

In a lockdown, all the entrances and exits are locked. Some Churchill students, wanting to get away from the gunfire, tried to get into Kennedy instead and found themselves locked out.

Churchill went into a modified lockdown, which meant students were allowed to move about the building. No one could enter or exit.

At Kennedy, students were kept in their classrooms during the half hour lockdown.