A troubled 16-year-old boy who may have been planning "suicide by cop" is alive today thanks to a teacher who says he "reacted in a way that any other teacher would react" to the sound of gunfire. Police say that after the teen fired two shots inside North Thurston High School in Lacey, Wash., yesterday, social studies teacher Brady Olson tackled him as a campus police officer was preparing to shoot him, KING5 reports. A police spokesman tells the Olympian that the teen "definitely could have been" hoping to be shot dead by the officer and has told investigators he did not plan to harm any students and had "some issues in personal relationships."
Police say the teen—who transferred to the school a month ago—fired one shot into the ground and another into the ceiling minutes before morning classes began. The handgun was legally owned by his parents, and the teen is now being held at a juvenile detention center for firearm-related offenses, the Olympian reports. A classmate tells KING5 that the teen was "very social in class," wasn't bullied, and didn't normally wear all black like he did yesterday. In a statement released by the school district, Olson praised police and colleagues for their "incredible tact and professionalism" and said three other adults, including the school's principal, joined him in "going toward the sound of gunfire rather than away." (Read more school shooting stories.)