Lithia Springs, GA – A male Lithia Springs High School teacher was taken to the hospital, after he suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 7:15 a.m. on Thursday.
According to reports, the teacher was alone in an office adjoining his classroom at the time. The shooting occurred before the start of the school day, and no one witnessed it, although students were arriving at school as the police were responding to the shooting.
“We know there were no students or staff present when this incident took place,” Douglas County superintendent Trent North said. “The campus has been secured and all students are being kept safely away from the scene.”
According to police, the teacher has been employed with the school system for almost 18 years. He entered the campus, went to his classroom, and proceeded to shoot himself. The injured teacher was able to leave the classroom and get help from another teacher, who directed a third person to call 911, Douglas County sheriff’s Sgt. Jesse Hambrick said.
As the teacher was flown to a hospital, school resource officers arrived to help secure the school. Nearly 1,100 students were asked to go to the gym, where they could be picked up or bused home, as classes were cancelled for the day.
Hambrick said no students were ever in jeopardy. “There were no students who ever saw this. This was something that was a very isolated incident,” he said.
Hambrick did not indicate that the shooting was an accident when asked.
“All I can confirm is that there was a gun-related injury that took place on the campus this morning involving an employee,” Hambrick said. “Obviously we do not allow teachers to carry handguns on our property,” he said, but allowed that there is no way to know if teachers have weapons on them.
Officials said the teacher is stable as of 5 pm local time, all of the students are safe, and the handgun the teacher used has been secured.
Cleanup efforts were undertaken at the school as the gunshot victim traveled from his office to other parts of the school after the shooting, Hambrick said.
Information about the teacher, including his name, grade level, and subject taught were not released. But superintendent Trent North asked for prayers for the man.
“Teachers are part of our family,” North said. “When one of your family is hurting, you hurt as well.” He said the school community is “suffering because our family member is in need.”
North acknowledged that safety was the school’s first priority. “The most important thing we do as a school system is to keep our staff and students safe,” North said.
Members of the community were quick to offer food, water and support, according to reports.
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The following statement was given by Douglas County Sheriff Sgt. J. Hambrick around 11am local time.
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