PHILIPPI, W.Va. — A 14-year-old boy armed with a pistol was responsible for a two-hour hostage situation at Philip Barbour High School on Tuesday, West Virginia state police said.
“Educators who were on scene, they did an awesome job of evacuating the facility per protocol,” said Capt. Dave Reider, the state police Troop 3 commander in Elkins. “Law enforcement got on scene and contained the situation.”
Barbour County 911 operators were notified of a gunman in the school at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
School staffers managed to evacuate most of the students to the football field, where they were accounted for before being dismissed to their afternoon buses.
Across campus, police negotiated with the teen, who was holding several students and a teacher in a second-floor classroom.
All were released uninjured when the suspect surrendered.
“Subsequent to that, we were able to talk to the juvenile subject inside and had him surrender without incident,” Reider said.
The suspect was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and police said he will be detained afterward.
Parents who arrived on scene were met with a closed Route 250 and a nerve-wracking wait.
“We had to secure the facility, make sure it was safe,” Reider said. “Once we got them evacuated and could do that, we released the children to the parents. They were very cooperative and very patient. I can’t thank them enough for that.
“These types of situations can often times become problematic if we don’t have that patience. Tragedy, today, was averted because of that.”
Barbour County prosecuting attorney Leckta Poling briefly spoke with reporters Tuesday evening.
“We are pursuing charges against the juvenile at this time. Those are closed proceedings. So there will not be any information released about that at this time,” she said
Details regarding the boy’s motive, how he obtained the weapon, and how many students were held hostage were not immediately made public by police.
Classes will be on a two-hour delay Wednesday with extra police assigned to campus, officials said.