A 14-year-old boy held 29 students and a teacher at gunpoint in a West Virginia high school classroom yesterday afternoon before he released them after negotiations and surrendered, authorities say. No injuries were reported. The student took a pistol into a second-floor classroom at Philip Barbour High School, police say. It was the ninth day of the new school year in Philippi, a town of some 3,000 residents located about 115 miles south of Pittsburgh. Authorities say the episode began after 1pm and police had brought the situation under control by about 3:30pm, though they didn't immediately say just how long hostages were held.
Barbour County Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Woofter praised the teacher for maintaining control when classes were about to change. Woofter says the teacher talked the boy into not allowing the next group of students to enter the classroom and "did a miraculous job, calming the student, maintaining order in the class." Woofter says Philippi Police Chief Jeff Walters negotiated the release of the students from the classroom and eventually got the suspect to surrender. Walters "did an awesome job negotiating with this very troubled young man," Woofter says. The county prosecutor says she plans to pursue unspecified charges against the suspect, who was taken to a hospital for evaluation.