Waukesha officer shoots armed South student
High-schooler didn’t comply with orders; unknown why he brought gun to class

By Ashley Haynes

Dec. 3, 2019

A Waukesha South High School student is taken out of the building on a stretcher on Monday morning following an incident where a Waukesha police officer fired shots. Police officials say the officer was trying to help confiscate a gun that was brought in by a student who did not comply with orders.
Ashley Haynes/Freeman Staff

1:50 p.m. - Associated Press

Police in suburban Milwaukee say a 17-year-old student pointed a pellet gun at another student's head in a confrontation that led to a police officer shooting the teenager.

Police said Tuesday that a school resource officer and a detective began talking with the student at Waukesha South High School after the fight between students on Monday.

Police say the teen had a gun in his hand when an officer shot him once in the leg and twice in the arm.

Authorities immediately gave the student first aid, stopping the bleeding. The student is in stable condition.

Police found two firearms in the classroom and say both were pellet guns. Police later searched the student's home and found more pellet guns.

WAUKESHA — What many students assumed was just a school lockdown drill quickly turned into a morning of terror as gunshots rang out in a Waukesha South High School classroom Monday.

Both students and staff members were left fearful and confused as they sheltered in their respective rooms, unsure of what was taking place for several minutes.

Parents swarmed both entrances near East Roberta and Tenny avenues, hoping for a glimpse of their students or another tidbit of information.

Several approached the Roberta Avenue entrance tearful, anticipating what they might find upon arrival — but just one injury was reported.

Police said Monday a 17year-old male suspect is in stable condition following an officer-involved shooting that took place at South.

“This is clearly a superintendent’s worst nightmare but my primary concern is for the students and the families of South High School,” said Waukesha School District Superintendent Todd Gray during a press conference Monday.

According to police officials, at approximately 10:07 a.m., a student reported that a male had a handgun, at which point South’s school resource officer (SRO) responded to the classroom, as well as members of the Waukesha Police Department. Officials say the suspect would not remove his hands from his pocket and did not follow an officer’s orders, eventually removing the handgun from his waistband and pointing it at the officer. A Waukesha police officer then fired his gun, hitting the suspect.

Officers immediately gave the 17-year-old suspect lifesaving medical attention and the remaining students were evacuated from the classroom while the school was put on lockdown.

Sophomore Candace Williams was in a classroom next door to the suspect’s during the incident and said she heard around three shots.

Williams said students first thought the incident was a drill.

“I was scared ’cause they always say you would never think it would happen at South (High School) or somewhere in Waukesha. I was just scared,” Williams said.

— Candace Williams; sophomore

A student is reunited with family outside Waukesha South High School in Waukesha on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. Gunshots were exchanged between a student and a school resource officer inside Waukesha South High School, according to school officials.
Photo: Associated Press

‘A terrifying day’

Senior Sydney Guckenberger said at first she also thought the incident was a drill, but learned it wasn’t after hearing the gunshots. Guckenberger estimated that the students took shelter for around 15-20 minutes.

“I heard gunshots ... two or three maybe. I mean, it’s like kind of blurry because as soon as I heard the gunshots I was in panic mode,” Guckenberger said.

Sophomore Bailey Fladung added that students were for the most part unaware of what was happening as they sheltered in their classrooms.

“We saw a bunch of cops and, like, my classroom couldn’t hear anything and people were saying a kid pulled out a gun and stuff like that,” Fladung said.

Students first started to be released to their parents at around 11:15 p.m.

Nearby Whittier Elementary was temporarily placed on lockdown during the event.

Later in the afternoon, a separate incident developed at Waukesha North High School where police officials received a report of a student with a firearm. The student was located at a residence in the city and taken into custody. During that investigation, North High School was on lockdown.

Police Capt. Dan Baumann said Monday afternoon the weapons threat led officers to take the student into custody at Gascoigne Drive.

Gabriela Mauricio, right, a 14-year-old freshman, hugs her mother Meche Mauricio, after the two were reunited outside Waukesha South High School in Waukesha on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019.
Photo: Associated Press

The Milwaukee Area Investigative Team, with the city of Greenfield Police Department as the lead agency, is conducting the investigation.

Additional resources will be on hand for students who need help processing Monday's events.

Gray said the district intends for South to be open Tuesday.

Police officials added that initial information shows the officer acted within the law and department policy.


Ongoing investigation

There are no metal detectors at South High School. It is unclear at this point why the student brought the gun into the building.

The officer involved in the incident is an 11-year veteran of the Waukesha Police Department. Officials did not release the officer’s name Monday.

No officer or other students were injured during this incident.

South students on Monday morning were slowly released back to their families, who gathered en masse along Tenny Avenue.

The Milwaukee Area Investigative Team, with the Greenfield Police Department as the lead agency, is conducting the investigation.

Additional resources will be on hand for students who need help processing Monday’s events, according to school district officials.

Gray said the district intended for South to be open today.

Police officials added that initial information shows the officer acted within the law and department policy.

“For citizens of Waukesha I know this was a terrifying day for many students and parents. What is important is the partnership between the school and the city in having a school resource officer,” said Mayor Shawn Reilly. “I guess I’m very thankful where we’re in a situation where only one person was injured and that we aren’t in a situation that would have been much more worse.”

Community reaction

Following Monday’s events, the community was divided on how much time they believed students and families should have to process everything that occurred.

Ema Briones, a South junior, said her dad will allow her to miss the rest of the week if she needs to.

“Too much has happened these past 6 years of my (family’s) lives. You never think it’s gonna happen. I will not return to school tomorrow,” Briones said.

Jo Marie Scalic said her son, a sophomore, also does not want to return.

“The sounds of a car door closing made him jump; these are not things that our children should have to experience,” Scalic said.

Lucy Corona Martinez said she believes students should be given a day to be at home and feel less stressed.

“It’s such a scary and traumatizing experience and a break so they can process it all,” Corona Martinez said. Some community members said that the safety system in place worked the way it was supposed to, as only the student who brought a gun into the building was injured.

“It will probably be safer tomorrow than any other day of the year. My kid will be there. I could see metal detectors to be installed soon,” said Julie Unger Matusiak.

Chris Malmquist Gross added that he would also like to see metal detectors and other preventative measures, like bag/purse checks, implemented at the high school.

“I am glad that there were no casualties but something needs to be done. (My) kids don’t feel safe going to school and that shouldn’t be,” he said.

Officer shot Oshkosh high school student who stabbed him

Students are evacuated from the scene of an officer involved shooting at Oshkosh West High School after an armed student confronted a school resource officer on
Tuesday December 3, 2019 in Oshkosh, Wis.

Photo: Associated Press

OSHKOSH, Wis. — A 16-year-old student stabbed a school resource officer who then shot the teenager at a Wisconsin high school Tuesday morning, police said, in the second shooting at a school in the state in as many days.

The latest shooting happened at Oshkosh West High School just after 9 a.m., Oshkosh police spokeswoman Katherine Mann said at a news briefing. The student and the officer were taken to hospitals, but no one else was injured, Mann said.

Oshkosh Police Chief Dean Smith said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that neither the officer or student had suffered what were expected to be life-threatening injuries. He said the officer shot the teenager once.

Authorities have not released any information about the nature of the injuries to the student and the officer.

“This is a big deal,” Mann said. “We’re not that big of a city and we know pretty much everyone in the city and we know this affects a lot of people in our community.”

Police will not be releasing details of the type of weapon the student was carrying, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is handling the investigation, she said.

Graphic: Associated Press

The school was locked down. Police said parents would be able to reunite with their children later at Perry Tipler Middle school. By late morning, parents were gathered at the middle school, waiting for their children.

An Oshkosh West student identified only as Evelyn told WLUK-TV that she was in class when she heard screaming and her teacher walked out.

“And then, like, after two minutes she ran back into the classroom and she was like, ‘Everybody needs to evacuate right now!’ And then we all ran out of the class and then we saw everybody from our school running to across the street.”

After reuniting with her mother at the nearby middle school, Evelyn said: “They told us they were going to tell us what was happening, but they never did.”

A senior identified only as Josh told the Journal Sentinel that he heard gunshots.

"I was walking in the hall, and a teacher shoved me into a classroom, and we started barricading the doors, and we all huddled in the corner, and there were gunshots," he said.

The Rev. John Seelman, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church across the street from the school, says he saw one person being transported from the school in a wheelchair who was taken away in an ambulance, and another who was carried out on a stretcher.

Stephanie Carlin, who is the mother of a sophomore and a senior at Oshkosh West and a school board member, told The Associated Press that one of her sons texted her to say, “it was crazy,” but that both of her sons were safe.

“As a parent, it’s terrifying,” Carlin said. It’s a parent’s “worst nightmare.”

Carlin referred questions to school board president Barbara Herzog, who did not immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment.

Just before 11 a.m., school buses were lined up outside the school and streets were blocked off. Several squad cars, many of them with lights still flashing, were parked outside, with officers manning the barricades blocking the street.

Oshkosh West has about 1,700 students in grades 9-12.

Tuesday's shooting in Oshkosh, a city of about 67,000 people, was about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Monday's shooting in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha. A police officer responding to a situation at Waukesha South High School shot an armed male student in a classroom. Officials say that student pointed a handgun at officers. The 17-year-old boy was wounded and is in custody in stable condition. No officers or other students were injured, Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack said.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, said the two shootings reinforced the need to identify troubled students and get them the mental health services they need to prevent violence before it occurs. Kaul also renewed his call for the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass a universal gun background check bill and a “red flag” law that would empower judges to take guns from people determined to be a risk to themselves or others.

The state Justice Department’s office of school safety was working with both schools in Oshkosh and Waukesha to provide them with any services they may need, Kaul said. He also said if other schools have safety upgrade needs, they should contact his agency.

“These are really tragic incidents but it’s also true we have seen incidents where there has been mass tragedy,” Kaul said. “I feel really sorry for our kids that they have to go to school in this environment.”

School shootings have occasionally shone a spotlight on the response by guards and school resource officers. Armed school resource officers have rarely prevented a school shooting.

Last year, armed guards at three high-profile school shootings — Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky; Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; and Santa Fe High School in Texas — were unable to stop the rampages.

Waukesha North pupil taken into custody on gun allegations

WAUKESHA — A young Waukesha mother said the shocking news of lockdowns at both South and North high schools on Monday, one because of a confirmed student with a gun and another with a student possibly in possession of a gun, had her considering homeschooling her children.

A Waukesha North student recalled the chilling minutes he and classmates shared after hearing danger warnings blare through loudspeakers, prompting them to seek safety in a locker room during the school lockdown.

The two are neighbors of a quiet neighborhood, which became an armed police command center when law enforcement took into custody a North student suspected of bringing a gun to school.

They talked in separate interviews about how the incidents have sown fears in their lives that will linger.

There were no reports of shots fired at either North or the home in the 400 block of Gascoigne Drive, where a 15-year-old North student was taken into custody without incident, according to a Waukesha police news release.

Neighbors say they saw police escorting a young man in handcuffs to a waiting squad car at about 2 p.m. near Gascoigne and Peters Drive.

A facsimile firearm was located hidden in the residence, according to the release.

The arrest topped off a frightening day that also involved Waukesha South High School, where a police officer had earlier shot a student who had pointed a gun at the officer.

It was unknown if the suspected gunmen knew each other, but the common thread in the incidents was fear.

The neighbors of the suspected North gunman shared harrowing stories — one of a young mother fearing for her toddlers’ safety as heavily armed police descended on the targeted duplex.

The other was Michael Miller, 17, a junior at North, who during an interview recalled the chill he and his classmates experienced while North was under lockdown.

“I was in phy ed class playing basketball when all of a sudden the clocks that were installed this year yelled out ‘lock down, lights out, other sites,’ so we all went to the locker room. It lasted for about an hour to an hour and fifteen. When it was over, it said ‘the problem has left the building, you may continue class time.’ “We heard the shooter was on the run. I don’t know why this person would think it was smart to come straight here. The courthouse is right there.”

When asked if he ever suspected something like this could happen in Waukesha schools, Miller said, “With as how boring of a town Waukesha is, never.”

Brittany Repp, who lives three doors down from where the student was taken into custody, said, “it’s very scary, all of this in one day. It’s crazy.”

Repp said she heard police on bullhorns repeatedly ordering residents of the two-story duplex to come outside.

“We were all taking a nap ... I wake up, and my house was literally surrounded by police officers with guns and everything else.”

She described the neighborhood as “calm and peaceful, there’s really nothing that ever goes on. It’s never one for violence. I want to homeschool my kids.”