Shooting at Oshkosh West High School

Police outside of Oshkosh West High School on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, after the school was put on lockdown after an incident with an armed student.

A second Wisconsin high school student was shot by a police officer in as many days Tuesday morning.

A 16-year-old student at Oshkosh West High school got into an altercation with the school's resource officer and stabbed the officer, who then shot the student shortly before 9:12 a.m., said Oshkosh Police Chief Dean Smith. Smith was not able to say whether the student was armed with a knife or another type of weapon.

Smith said the first responding officer arrived at the school at 9:14 a.m., and both the student and resource officer were given medical attention and transported to a local hospital. Smith said they were both being treated and he believed neither had sustained life-threatening injuries.

The high school was locked down, and by 11 a.m. students were being evacuated to Perry Tipler Middle School, where they were being reunified with their parents. Smith expected all parents and student reunifications to be completed by 2 p.m. An Oshkosh Area School District press release noted that all middle schools were placed on a "soft lockdown" and all other district schools were observing "restricted movement" Tuesday morning.

Smith said the high school was secured by 11:18 a.m. and that the incident was isolated to the single encounter between the student and the officer. There were no other injuries reported.

"The safety of our students is paramount to all of us," Smith said. "We care deeply for the well-being of each of our students and our officer will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of those students and the staff at those schools."

The state Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) will be investigating the shooting, according to police.

District Superintendent Vickie Cartwright told reporters she was grateful for "the proactive safety measures in place throughout our district."

Cartwright also thanked community members who took in students who evacuated the campus during the lockdown as well as students' families for following district emergency procedures and being patient with the reunification process.

"Our students' safety is our No. 1 priority. We are committed to providing a school environment where students can feel safe in mind and body," she said. "Today's tragic event shows that trained school resource officers can help save lives."

School will be canceled at all district schools Wednesday. Cartwright said the district will be sending information to families about available counseling services.

The shooting comes a day after an officer shot a student at Waukesha South High School. That 17-year-old student was armed and did not follow police orders to drop his weapon. There were no other injuries reported in that incident.

Other school districts around the state were also dealing with threats Tuesday. Schools in Germantown and Grafton had increased police presence on campuses after receiving threats that were eventually determined not to be credible.

The Sparta School District canceled classes district-wide Tuesday after receiving information that a student was possibly in possession of a missing handgun.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday morning at the state Capitol, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said DCI was still learning about the details of the Oshkosh shooting.

Kaul said it was difficult to say what might help prevent these incidents in the future, but he said more needed to be done to identify threats. He said that could include investments in mental health programs for students.

"These incidents, even if the worst possible scenarios are averted, these are incidents that can leave people with serious and lasting trauma if they’ve witnessed them, if they were present in the schools when they happened," Kaul said.

Kaul said going forward it would be important to provide help to students and teachers who’ve been impacted by these shootings.

"I feel really sorry for our kids that they’ve got to go to school in this environment," Kaul said. "And I want them to know that there are people working to make our schools safer."

After the shootings Monday and Tuesday, Wisconsin will have had 30 total shootings by law enforcement this year, which is the most there have been since anyone started tracking the number in 2015.

Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2019, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.


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