Another school shooting was stopped in its tracks after a school resource officer shot back when a 19-year-old opened fire multiple times near a high school gymnasium Wednesday morning. The gym was filled with students at the time.
According to WRAL, the police officer Mark Dallas was watching over a graduation practice at the Dixon, Illinois school — about 80 miles east of Chicago — and he responded to the noise.
Dallas confronted the gunman, who Lee County Sheriff John Simonton says was a former student. That’s when the gunman reportedly took off, firing several rounds at the officer. His shots missed the officer, who fired back, striking him, Sauk Valley Media reported.
Only the alleged attacker was injured. He’s being treated for a non-life-threatening wound.
"We're lucky the officer was there. His brave actions saved a lot of lives," said City Administrator Danny Langloss.
During a press conference, Dixon Mayor Liandro Arellano Jr expressed, “Things could have gone much worse. We in the city are deeply indebted to the officer and the actions he took today.”
The number of schools protected by a school resource officer has been on the rise in recent years, according to the Washington Times. In a study from two years ago, 42 percent of schools in the U.S. had a school resource officer, and 57 percent had at least some security measure in place.
But many people worried about the safety of children are concerned that so many schools are still unarmed. Plus, a full 10 percent of school resource officers don’t even carry a gun.
Doubts about whether we’re doing enough to protect our children have surged since the deadly school shooting earlier this year in Parkland, Florida. Parkland’s lone school resource officer did little to protect students, according to multiple reports received by CNN. His alleged inaction has fueled requests for placing multiple armed officers at every school as well as calls for arming teachers who are trained and willing to carry a firearm.
“Being able to retaliate during an ongoing attack is crucial. Prevention is preferred,” wrote Harrold, Texas school superintendent David Thweatt in a Washington Post opinion piece, advocating for more schools to follow his lead in arming educators.