On Thursday, a 6th grade girl in Rigby, Idaho, pulled a handgun out of her backpack and opened fire on her classmates. Two students, Addison and Erick, along with school custodian Jim Wilson, were wounded. Wilson placed himself between the girl and the other students, and was shot. One teacher, Krista Gneiting, disarmed the girl and held her for authorities. Both the janitor and the teacher are being hailed as heroes. Fortunately, none of the injuries were considered life threatening.
We didn’t think anything of it at first, until we heard footsteps in the hallway and then we heard a police siren… and that’s when we started realizing it was real. I texted everyone I knew.
Seventh grader Madison Jensen (KITI)
According to the news media reports, police from multiple agencies arrived quickly: Idaho State Police, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Bonneville Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, Idaho Falls Police Department, Rigby Police Department, Rexburg Police Department and Madison County Sheriff’s Office. Police and the bomb squad went to the suspect’s home in an Idaho Falls neighborhood, but the results or reason were not immediately released. The 6th grade girl may face three counts of attempted murder.
Rigby, Idaho is a town of around 5,000 people only a little over 15 miles from Idaho Falls in Eastern Idaho. As one twitter user remarked, if you blink while driving through it, you’ll miss it. It sits directly between the larger cities of Idaho Falls and Rexburg.
The 6th grader who opened fire lives in Idaho Falls in Bonneville County, but attended school in Rigby, which is in Jefferson County. Reportedly, she posted a threatening video on social media prior to the shooting incident, according to East Idaho News. It is relatively unusual for a student to cross county lines for school attendance unless there is a reason for the change of school districts. The investigation is ongoing to determine a motive.
Jim Wilson, is a beloved custodian who has worked for the Rigby School District for many years. On the day of the shooting, he reportedly stood between the shooter and other students, and was shot. His wound was a “through and through,” so he was released later in the day. The community stated a GoFundMe for him, which has raised over the amount originally set. GoFundMe has reportedly verified the account, as they have for the other accounts for the children.
Teacher Krista Gneiting bravely grabbed the weapon away from the girl and held her down until authorities could arrive to place her in custody. Though community members attempted to start a fund for her as well, she told them that she doesn’t want money.
“My heart is touched by all the incredible outpouring of love I’ve received. Thank you. I don’t want money, I just appreciate the incredible support of Rigby!!! I love my students so much! It is why I teach!! They make my heart happy every day!!!! All of the staff at Rigby did their part and kept our wonderful children safe! Thank you! I love you all and we will get through this together.”
Krista Gneiting in a Facebook post to a public group
The small community of Rigby is pulling together in light of this tragedy. As usual, the anti-gunners were out in full force. But the larger question is what causes children to think that killing or shooting their classmates will help their situation? If THAT issue is not addressed then the danger for schools will continue.
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