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In an Iowa school shooting, a 17-year-old kills a sixth grader and injures five others, according to authorities.

A sixth-grader was killed and five others were wounded when a 17-year-old student opened fire at a small-town high school in Iowa just before classes returned on the first day following winter break. Students panicked and ran, barricading offices and ducking into classrooms.

An Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation official stated that the suspect, a student at the Perry school, passed away from what they believe to have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound. According to the authorities, Dan Marburger, the principal of Perry High School, was one of the five injured individuals. He was later recognized by his alma mater.

Dylan Butler, 17, was named as the gunman by the authorities, who gave no explanation for his apparent motivation. Butler was a shy guy who had been tormented for years, according to two friends and their mother who talked with The Associated Press.

Situated on the outside of the state capital’s metropolitan region, Perry is a town of over 8,000 people, situated approximately 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of Des Moines. There is a sizable facility that processes pork there, and low-slung, one-story houses are dotted among trees that have lost their leaves for the winter. Located on the eastern boundary of the town, the middle and high schools are linked.

Butler was allegedly in possession of a small-caliber pistol and a pump-action shotgun. Assistant Director Mitch Mortvedt of the State Investigation Division stated during a press conference that investigators had also discovered and made safe a “pretty rudimentary” improvised explosive device.

“A number of social media posts” the suspect made around the time of the shooting are being looked at by authorities, and the motive of the suspect is being examined, according to Mortvedt.

Butler’s acquaintances are being questioned by federal and state authorities, according to a law enforcement person informed on the case, and Butler’s social media accounts, including posts on Reddit and TikTok, are being examined.

Butler shared a picture of himself inside Perry High School’s restroom on TikTok just before Thursday’s shooting, according to the official. The German band KMFDM’s song “Stray Bullet” was playing as the image with the message, “now we wait.” The official, who spoke to AP under condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss the specifics of the investigation, said that investigators had also discovered further images Butler uploaded in which he was seen posing with guns.

Butler has been the target of constant bullying since elementary school, according to sisters Yesenia Roeder and Khamya Hall, both 17 years old, and their mother Alita. However, Butler’s case intensified when his younger sister began to face bullying as well. Butler claimed it was the “last straw” after his parents brought it up at school, according to them.

“He was in pain. He became weary. The bullying began to wear on him. Yesenia Roeder Hall, 17, stated, “He became weary of the abuse.” Did shooting up the school seem like a good idea? Negative. Dear God, no.

A request for response via email was not promptly addressed, and neither the superintendent of Perry Community Schools, Clark Wicks, nor any of the school board members responded to calls on Thursday.

Ava Augustus, a senior at Perry High School, reported that she heard three gunshots while waiting for a counselor in an office. She and the others blocked the entrance and prepared to hurl objects if needed because they were unable to escape through the little window.

“After that, we hear, ‘He’s down.'” “You can leave now,” Augustus cried. “And as I run, glass is all over the place, and blood is all over the floor.” As I go to my car, they are removing a female who was shot in the leg from the theater.

According to a spokesman, Iowa Methodist Health Center in Des Moines was treating three gunshot patients. A MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center representative verified that other patients were transferred to another facility.

According to Mortvedt, one patient was in critical condition, while the other patients’ conditions were stable and the injuries didn’t seem to be life-threatening.

At a park where students had been transported to meet with their families following the shooting, hundreds of people gathered for a candlelight prayer vigil on Thursday night. While bundled up against the bitter cold, they heard sermons from pastors of all religions and received a message of hope that was delivered in both Spanish and English.

Counseling services will be available for students, professors, and community members on Friday, according to a statement on the high school’s Facebook page.

Governor Kim Reynolds stated, “This senseless tragedy has shaken our entire state to its core.”

Merrick Garland, the US Attorney General, and President Joe Biden were informed on the shooting in Washington.

Preceding Iowa’s first-ever national presidential caucuses on January 15, there was a gunshot. Rescheduled to take place at a prayer and private conversation with locals, Republican contender Vivek Ramaswamy postponed his planned 9 a.m. campaign event in Perry, which is around 1 1/2 miles (2 kilometers) away from the school.

Advocates for gun safety have long called for tougher gun legislation, and Thursday’s did so within hours of the other mass shootings that have occurred throughout the country. But many Republicans, especially in rural, GOP-leaning areas like Iowa, have found that concept unpalatable.

Iowa will no longer require a permit to purchase a handgun or carry a firearm in public as of July 2021, but it will still require a background check on anybody acquiring a pistol without one.

According to Ramaswamy, there is a “psychological sickness” in the nation as a result of the incident. Florida governor and GOP contender Ron DeSantis stated in a Des Moines interview with the Des Moines Register and NBC News that gun violence “is more of a local and state issue.”

Perry Community School District, which has 1,785 students, includes the high school. Perry has a greater diversity than the state of Iowa. Compared to less than 7% of the state’s population, 31% of its citizens are Hispanic, according to census data. These numbers also indicate that about 19% of the town’s citizens were foreign-born.

When an active shooter was reported at 7:37 a.m. on Thursday, according to the authorities, cops responded minutes later. The building was encircled by emergency vehicles.

“Officers swiftly moved to identify the threat’s origin and discovered what appeared to be the shooter suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” according to Mortvedt.

The quartet of bullets came in a staggered pattern as senior Rachael Kares, eighteen, was finishing up jazz band rehearsal.

According to Kares, “We all just jumped.” As she gave us a quick glance, my band instructor exclaimed, “Run!” So we took off running.

Shouts of “Get out! Get out!” were heard as Kares and many others hurried past the football field. Though she was unsure of the number, she claimed to have heard more gunfire. Her three-year-old kid was her main concern upon returning home.

Zander Shelley, 15, was in a hallway when he heard shootings, explains his father Kevin Shelley. He fled swiftly into a schoolroom. After getting grazed twice, Zander fled to the classroom and texted his dad.

Garbage truck driver Kevin Shelley informed his manager that he had to leave. He remarked, “It was the most scared I’ve ever been in my entire life.”

Later, he shared a picture of his kid receiving treatment at Methodist Medical Center on Facebook, stating that the little patient was doing well.

“I am still shaking and even though I don’t show it, I’m not OK,” he continued.

Reporting from Sioux City, Iowa, was Fingerhut. Contributors to this story were photojournalist Andrew Harnik and Associated Press reporter Scott McFetridge from Perry, Iowa; Josh Funk from Omaha, Nebraska; and Jim Salter from O’Fallon, Missouri. John Hanna of Topeka, Kansas; Mike Balsamo of New York City; Lindsay Whitehurst of Washington; and Trisha Ahmed of Minneapolis. Rhonda Shafner, an AP researcher, provided information from New York City.

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