Teacher barricades himself in class, fires gun; no one hurt

2018-03-01 07:42
People lineup inside the Dalton Convention Center to pick up their children. (CB Schmelter, Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)

People lineup inside the Dalton Convention Center to pick up their children. (CB Schmelter, Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)

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Atlanta - A social studies teacher barricaded himself inside a classroom at a Georgia high school on Wednesday and fired a handgun, sending students running outside or hunkering down in darkened gym locker rooms, authorities said.

No Dalton High School students were in the classroom when the teacher fired the weapon, and despite the chaotic lockdown and evacuation, the only injury was a student who hurt her ankle running away.

It wasn't immediately clear why the teacher, 53-year-old Jesse Randal Davidson, had the gun. Under questioning by detectives, he refused to discuss what led to the shooting.

READ: School shooting puts pressure on Florida lawmakers to act

The gunfire erupted with a nation on edge two weeks after a Florida school shooting left 17 students and faculty dead and ignited a new debate over gun control in America.

Within minutes of the Dalton shooting, students there took to social media, calling for restricting gun rights. In the afternoon, US President Donald Trump, who has advocated for arming teachers, convened a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House to address gun violence.

'Go away, don't come in here'

The teacher was taken into custody without incident after a 30- to 45-minute standoff with officers, police spokesperson Bruce Frazier said. A teacher since 2004, Davidson also serves as the play-by-play announcer for the high school's football team.

Police noted that Davidson didn't appear to want to hurt the students or faculty. He fired the gun at an exterior window when the principal tried to enter the classroom.

"I don't know whether he was just firing the gun off to let people know to back off or what," Frazier said.

READ: Worst mass shootings in the modern United States

The shooting happened about 11:30 during Davidson's planning period. At first, students tried to get into the classroom, but they couldn't. The students told the principal, who tried to enter.

"I didn't get the door open very far, but he slammed the door and hollered 'Go away, don't come in here.' He had some nonsensical noises that were made as well," Principal Steve Bartoo said.

Bartoo returned a short time later and put his key in the door "and again he slammed the door before I could open it and he said, 'Don't come in here, I have a gun.'"

That's when Davidson fired and the school was placed on lockdown, authorities said.

Davidson faces six charges, including aggravated assault involving a gun and terroristic threats and acts, jail records showed. Other charges include carrying a weapon in a school safety zone and reckless conduct. It's not clear if he has an attorney.

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