MARINETTE, Wis. (AP) — A student armed with a handgun burst into an eastern Wisconsin high school classroom at the end of the school day and held nearly two dozen students and a teacher hostage for more than five hours Monday, authorities said.
The office of Emergency Management Director Eric Burmeister said all 23 students and one female teacher, who had acted as a mediator between the male hostage-taker and authorities, were released unharmed about 8 p.m. No shots were fired.
The office didn’t immediately release information about the status of gunman.
A Marinette High School administrator called authorities after 3 p.m. to say a student had taken over a classroom, officials said. Police Chief Jeff Skorik said officials were able to communicate with the teacher inside by phone.
A school bus pulled up to the high school entryway shortly after 8 p.m., said Bradley Behrendt, a councilman in the town of about 12,000 people that sits on the border with Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Behrendt, who had gathered with dozens of others near the scene, said it was too dark to see whether students boarded the bus, but many of the emergency personnel left the area soon after.
Earlier, a SWAT team had arrived at the school while dozens of mostly young people being kept way from the scene by firefighters gathered about 200 yards away in a hair salon parking lot.
“This is not a good mood, there are a lot of people who are scared, a lot of students who are worried,” said Jason Chaltry, 32, whose nephew is a sophomore at the school but was not in the classroom.
The high school has an annual enrollment of approximately 800 students, according to its website.
“They just spent a whole bundle of money on classroom doors to make them secure, but they don’t have metal detectors at the school,” Behrendt said.