Ben Queen/AP Students wait on the football field bleachers at Philip Barbour High School in Philippi, W.Va., after being evacuated Tuesday afternoon.
A West Virginia high school narrowly avoided tragedy when a tense two-hour hostage situation ended with an armed 14-year-old boy’s surrender. Police have not identified the student.
The Philip Barbour High School student, whose name wasn’t released, allegedly held “numerous students” and his teacher hostage with a pistol in a second-floor classroom, West Virginia State Police said in a news release.
“There are no injuries, the children are all safe”, said State Police Lt. Michael Baylous.
Steve Saltis was among several anxious parents who went to the school and waited outside an area cordoned off by police tape while waiting for students to be released.
Local authorities got first reports about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday of someone with a gun in the building.
Classes at the high school started back on August 13, according to the district’s website. Saltis said “a lot” was going through his mind in the meantime. Authorities say the episode began after 1pm and police had brought the situation under control by about 3:30pm, though they didn’t immediately say just how long hostages were held. “The suspect has been isolated and law enforcement on the scene are now working toward taking the suspect into custody”. After the incident was reported, the school was evacuated, and students were eventually removed from the school grounds by bus, he says. Police officers who negotiated with the teen have some idea as to a motive, but the case is still under investigation and a motive has not been verified, Baylous said.