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14 Year old Arrested Following Gun Shots at Normal High School

The Pantagraph

A hostage situation at Normal Community High School ended in a frantic scramble for a gun Friday morning.

14-year old Sean Kennedy was in health class when a fellow student pulled the gun, a hatchet, pills, and a container of kerosene out of his backpack and told the class no one ever listened to his problems and they were going to listen now. Kennedy says at one point the other 14 year old student fired at the ceiling, as some members of the class bolted for the door. At another time he set the gun down and walked away from the desk talking about his problems.


Unit Five school officials declared a lockdown during the emergency. There were no injuries. Students were gradually released to their parents through the afternoon at nearby Eastview Christian Church. Police have arrested a suspect and are questioning others.

School officials are mulling what additional security measures if any need to be enacted in the wake of the shooting. Superintendent Gary Niehaus says he's not ruling out installing metal detectors. He says whatever measures are put in place should also apply to Normal West as well as the district's FOUR junior high schools. He says, for right now, students will be the main source of security.   Niehaus says the school has roughly 2,000 students in that building that are probably going to be watching everybody's move and everybody's circumstances. He says he thinks students will be the first to let someone know when something like this goes on.

Normal Police Chief Rick Bliechner says no clear motive for the shooting has yet developed. He says he has no knowledge that the alleged shooter has a troubled past. He said investigators are looking into how the boy obtained the gun. Niehaus says he and Bliechner briefly discussed dismissing classes at West and other schools but concluded the NCHS incident was isolated and no other threats were present.

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