Teacher’s quick reaction saves lives during shooting at Illinois high school

MATTOON, Ill. — A teacher subdued a male student who fired shots and injured at least two students in a central Illinois high school cafeteria on Wednesday morning, police said.

Mattoon police Chief Jeff Branson and Mattoon School Superintendent Larry Lilly said the shooting happened at Mattoon High School about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The suspect, a male student, is in custody, police said. Both victims are reportedly in stable condition.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Branson cited the female teacher’s intervention as being pivotal in the quick response.

During a news conference, Branson said of the teacher: “She’s been trained obviously, but in these scenarios, you just don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens. Had the teacher not responded as quickly as she had I think the situation would have been a lot different.”

The Coles County State’s Attorney declined to disclose the name of the teacher, as well as the alleged gunman and victims, citing confidentiality requirements.

Mattoon Community Unit School District 2 said on its Facebook page that it is working with emergency workers to determine what happened.

“We are saddened that this event has happened and we will provide counseling to students in need,” the district said in a statement. “We appreciate the quick response of school staff and first responders. Most importantly, we offer our thoughts and prayers to the injured student and all who are affected by this tragedy.”

The Mattoon Journal-Gazette reported that police were clearing the high school room by room. Students were being bused to a nearby school to be picked up.

School officials said their buildings were on a soft lockdown as a precaution.

Mattoon is about 180 miles (290 kilometers) south of Chicago.