Police identify shooter on first day of classes at Perry Middle and High School as 17-year-old Dylan Butler.
A teenager armed with a shotgun and a handgun opened fire at a high school in the US state of Iowa killing a sixth grader and injuring five others, authorities said.
The shooting at Perry Middle and High School on the first day of classes took place just after 7:30am (13:30 GMT) on Thursday, police said.
The shooter was identified by authorities as 17-year-old Dylan Butler, who attended the school. He died of what investigators believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation official revealed.
Butler had a pump-action shotgun and a small-calibre handgun, authorities said. Mitch Mortvedt, the state investigation division’s assistant director, said during a news conference that authorities also found a “pretty rudimentary” improvised explosive device and rendered it safe.
The suspect’s motive was being investigated and authorities were looking into “a number of social media posts” he made about the time of the shooting, Mortvedt added.
He said one person was in critical condition but the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, and the others were stable.
An administrator, later identified by his alma mater as the school’s principal, Dan Marburger, was among those injured as students returned from winter break.
There were few students and faculty in the building at the time of the incident, Dallas County Sheriff Adam Infante said.
Rachael Kares, 18, told The Associated Press news agency that she was finishing jazz band practice when she and her bandmates heard what she described as four gunshots spaced apart.
“We all just jumped,” Kares said. “My band teacher looked at us and yelled ‘Run!’ So we ran.”
Kares added that she ran out past the football field with others from the school and heard people yelling, “Get out! Get Out!” as more gunshots were heard.
FBI and United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents responded to the scene, and the US attorney general was briefed, a US Department of Justice spokesperson said.
As of July 2021, Iowa does not require a permit to buy a handgun or carry a firearm in public, though it mandates a background check for anyone buying a handgun without a permit.
The attack took place as Iowa is expected to hold the first statewide contest for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in 11 days.
Republican hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur who founded a biotechnology company, was scheduled to hold a rally in Perry but changed the event to an in-person prayer after reports of the shooting, a campaign spokesperson said.
Mass shootings across the US have long brought calls for stricter gun laws from gun safety advocates, and Thursday’s did within hours. But that idea has been a non-starter for many Republicans, particularly in rural, GOP-leaning states like Iowa.