Police fatally shoot ‘potential intruder’ at Alabama school
A man attempting to enter an Alabama elementary school where a summer program was taking place was fatally shot by police on Thursday morning, authorities said.
Gadsden City Schools Superintendent Tony Reddick told reporters that a ‘potential intruder’ had gone through several doors trying to enter Walnut Park Elementary School, where a literacy program summer was organized for 34 children. All exterior doors were locked and the principal contacted the school resource officer when she realized what was happening, Reddick said.
The resource officer confronted a person attempting to break into a marked Rainbow City police cruiser near the school, according to a statement from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Other officers from the Gadsden Police Department showed up to help, the statement said.
The person was shot and killed after resisting and attempting to take the weapon from the resource officer, the agency said. The statement, which does not mention any attempt to enter the school, does not specify how many shots were fired or by whom.
The state identified the dead as Robert Tyler White, 32, of Bunnlevel, North Carolina. Officials don’t know if the man was a “bystander” or something else, Reddick said.
Authorities did not immediately release details, including whether White was armed or why he might have tried to enter the school or patrol car.
While the resource officer suffered minor injuries, no students were hurt and most didn’t realize anything unusual had happened, Reddick said.
“Our main concern was just to make sure that someone who was not authorized to enter our building did not enter and that our children were safe,” he said.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey tweeted that school police “took immediate action, teachers inside the building followed safety protocols, and all children in attendance were kept out of harm’s way.”
“I commend everyone involved for acting quickly to protect these children,” he said.
Gadsden is about 100 kilometers northeast of Birmingham.