Tuesday 8 March 2022

School resource officer hailed as hero for quick response to shooting

 A school resource officer in Olathe, Kansas, is being hailed as a hero for his quick action during a school shooting incident Friday.

Olathe East High School resource officer Erik Clark was injured while exchanging gunfire with the suspect, an 18-year-old male student, the Olathe Police Department said in a statement.

On March 4, at approximately 10:38 a.m., Clark was called to the school's main office to deal with "an administrative matter" involving the student. Police said that during the incident, the student produced a handgun and shots were exchanged between the resource officer and the suspect. Clark, assistant principal Kaleb Stoppel, and the suspect, identified as Jaylon Elmore, each sustained gunshot wounds.

Authorities said that all injured persons were transported to the local hospital to receive treatment. The school was evacuated and cleared, police said.

Elmore was taken into custody and charged with attempted capital murder. He was a senior at the school and a member of the varsity football team. According to WDAF-TV, Elmore completed six months of probation in Dec. 2020 for an aggravated robbery conviction.

Officials at Overland Park Regional Medical Center said in a written statement Friday afternoon that Clark and Stoppel had been discharged from the hospital, the Kansas City Star reports. The student remained there in critical condition.

Scanner traffic reviewed by the Kansas City Star showed Clark calling in the shooting on Friday morning.

"I've been shot," he reportedly told dispatchers, advising that two others, including the suspect, had been shot as well.

"I have applied a tourniquet on myself," he said.

Police departments across Johnson County responded to the school after Clark made the call. Many have praised Clark, a 15-year veteran of the Olathe Police Department and 7-year school resource officer, for his quick response to the shooting.

“In towns and cities across the country, School Resource Officers go to work each day in an effort to teach students, form positive relationships with them and keep school staff and students safe," Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves said in a statement.

"Today, not far away from our own community, a hero emerged in the performance of his duties. Despite being shot himself, Olathe Police Officer Clark was able to subdue a suspect who had also shot a school administrator. Due to Officer Clark’s heroic and life-saving actions, nobody else was injured during this dangerous event," he said.

“A tragedy was avoided today thanks to this guy,” the Kansas State Troopers Association said in a Facebook post. "A big hat tip to this badass!"

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