STILLWATER — A Stillwater Junior High School student died of a gunshot wound Wednesday morning at the school, Stillwater police Capt. Randy Dickerson confirmed.
"Our investigators are on the scene. We have confirmed who the person is. We are in the process of trying to locate parents. It appears to be a student," Dickerson said.
Stillwater school superintendent Ann Caine said the shooting incident occurred at 7:50 a.m.
"It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of a tragic incident at our JH this morning," Caine said in a message to parents and staff. "At 7:50 a.m., one of our students died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. All other students and staff are safe."
School officials locked down the school, which was eventually evacuated. Around 9 a.m., parents were picking up the students at Cimarron Plaza, north of the high school.
Students said the shooting occurred in what they called "The Pit," a student gathering area in the middle of the school complex. It is located in front of the school's library.
Police believe the child's death was caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Dickerson said, adding the shooting occurred in a hallway at the school.
"No one else was injured," Dickerson said. "No one else was in danger."
Stillwater Junior High students said the shooting caught them off-guard.
"Everyone thought it was a joke at first," ninth-grader Ashlyn Lundholm said. "Then, I heard people screaming. Then, we went to lockdown for 35 to 40 minutes."
An eighth-grade student said he witnessed the shooting.
"I saw him on the ground," Aaron Veselak said. "There was blood all around his head."
Dickerson said he couldn't be sure if other students witnessed the incident.
"I assume so," he said. "The hallway was probably full of kids that time of day."
Students at nearby Skyline Elementary School were temporarly placed under lockdown. Skyline Elementary School has reopened..
Stillwater Junior High will be closed the rest of the day.
Here is the text of Superintendent Caine's message to parents and staff.
"It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of a tragic incident at our JH this morning. At 7:50am one of our students died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. All other students and staff are safe. The JH is currently in lockdown and closed for the day.We are busing the JH students to Cimarron Plaza to be picked up by their parents. Skyline was on temporary lockdown but is now open. All of our schools, with the exception of the JH, are open today. We have sent counselors to Cimarron to be available to our students. We have not released the name of the student, pending notification of next of kin."
NewsPress reporters Mark Rountree and Chase Rheam contributed to the report.