MADISON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (AP) – A 14-year-old boy pulled out a gun in a southwestern Ohio school cafeteria on Monday and opened fire, hitting two students, authorities said. Two other Madison Local Schools students were injured in another way. None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.
The shooter ran from the school, threw the gun down and was apprehended nearby, authorities said. Jones said the 14-year-old was a student and there was a motive to the shooting which he did not identify.
“The shooter, 14-year-old James Austin Hancock, is being charged with 2 counts of attempted murder, 2 counts of felonious assault, inducing panic and making terroristic threats, all felony charges,” Jones said in a release. “We have the suspect in custody and we did locate the weapon used.”
Students were eating in the cafeteria when the shooting happened around 11:30 a.m., Jones said. Fourteen-year-old Cooper Caffery and 15-year-old Cameron Smith were the students shot. Jones’s office said they are in stable condition. Brant Murray and Katherine Doucette, both 14, had other injuries. It was unclear how Murray and Doucette got hurt, Jones said.
“We don’t know if it was from the shooting or from exiting the school or because of the shrapnel from the bullets hitting into that small of an area,” Jones said.
Students who were in the cafeteria at the time said they didn’t immediately recognize the sounds as gunshots. Some students ran outside to a field before being brought back inside. A sheriff’s deputy stationed in the school had just been in the cafeteria, Jones said. All other students were safe, according to the school website. The school, which had practiced for such an event, immediately went into lockdown, said district spokeswoman A.J. Huff. The district was dismissing students from the junior high and senior high schools as quickly as possible following the shooting. Authorities were releasing students in groups of two or three.
The campus is near Middletown, roughly 30 miles north of Cincinnati. State records show enrollment of about 250 junior high and 500 high school students. The Butler County sheriff asked people to stay away from the school until the scene was cleared, and nearby roads were blocked. Two medical helicopters were called to the scene.
School officials announced Madison Jr/Sr High School would dismiss early once they received clearance to lift the lock down from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
The school is located on West Alexandria Road in Madison Township.