Hostage: Teen Gunman Didn't Want to Hurt Us

Students kept him calm with talk of hunting, fishing, says witness
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Nov 30, 2010 1:22 AM CST
Updated Nov 30, 2010 5:30 AM CST
Law enforcement descends on Marinette High School last night during a hostage standoff.   (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
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(Newser) – A teenage gunman who held 23 Wisconsin high school classmates and their female teacher hostage before shooting himself didn't seem to want to hurt anyone, said a witness. The 15-year-old shooter appeared depressed, and classmates tried to keep him calm by talking to him about hunting and fishing, hostage Zach Campbell told AP. "It was very scary. We just wanted to be on his good side," Campbell said. "But he didn't really seem like he wanted to hurt anybody." The standoff began when the teen fired at a projector while his Marinette High School classmates watched a film on Greek myths. The boy refused to talk to police, but they were in contact with the teacher. The teen ordered students to place their phones in the middle of the classroom and broke his own when it rang, said witnesses.

At one point the gunman let 5 students leave to use the bathroom. A SWAT team stormed the classroom when they heard shots nearly 6 hours after the ordeal began.The teen had shot himself once, but police recovered spent bullets from two weapons: a .22-caliber semiautomatic and a 9mm semiautomatic, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His name has not been released, and his condition has not been revealed. Police are still seeking a motive. "It's very shocking," said a school district official, who estimated some 100 town, county and state cops arrived on the scene. "They just spent a whole bundle of money on classroom doors to make them secure, but they don't have metal detectors at the school." Click here for more.

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