A school resource officer shot and killed a suspect near the Walnut Park Elementary School in Gadsden, Alabama on Thursday morning following a “physical altercation.”
The suspect reportedly was attempting to enter the Alabama school, law enforcement said. CBS42 reported that “a man arrived at Walnut Park Elementary in Gadsden around 9:30 a.m. Thursday and attempted to gain entry to vehicles and buildings on-site,” citing Etowah County Sheriff Jonathan Horton.
“A school resource officer who also works for Rainbow City police responded and called for assistance from other law enforcement,” the report added. “A physical altercation ensued, police claimed, and the suspect was shot and killed. The resource officer, officials said, received minor injuries.
Tony Reddick, Superintendent of Gadsden City Schools, said that the incident was “pretty bad.”
“I got a call from the principal who’s really distraught, and I really couldn’t make out what was happening,” he said. “But I knew it was something pretty bad.”
The aftermath of the incident was captured by WRBC.
Police have not yet said whether the man attempting to enter the elementary school was armed. It is unknown if the suspect had any motive to commit a ‘coypcat crime’ in the aftermath of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in May.
A 2019 study conducted by gun violence expert John Lott Jr. shows there wasn’t one school where a teacher was armed that had a non-suicidal gun violence incident during school hours.
“After the Columbine school shooting 20 years ago, one of the more significant changes in how we protect students has been the advance of legislation that allows teachers to carry guns at schools, the study notes. “There are two obvious questions: Does letting teachers carry create dangers? Might they deter attackers? Twenty states currently allow teachers and staff to carry guns to varying degrees on school property, so we don’t need to guess how the policy would work.”
“There has yet to be a single case of someone being wounded or killed from a shooting, let alone a mass public shooting, between 6 AM and midnight at a school that lets teachers carry guns,” the study continues. “Fears of teachers carrying guns in terms of such problems as students obtaining teachers guns have not occurred at all, and there was only one accidental discharge outside of school hours with no one was really harmed.”
“While there have not been any problems at schools with armed teachers, the number of people killed at other schools has increased significantly – doubling between 2001 and 2008 versus 2009 and 2018,” the report adds.
At least 28 states allow schools to arm teachers or staff in at least some cases or as part of a specific program. While there are states that are now moving to implement stricter gun control laws in the aftermath of Uvalde — namely, Colorado, Connecticut, New York, and California — there are nearly as many states seeking to arm school resource officers and qualified teachers: Florida, Louisiana, and Ohio. The Walnut Park Elementary School case illustrates why.