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Plymouth Middle School Shooting: Fmr. Gopher Kim Royston Credited With Stopping Armed Student

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- More than 700 students at Plymouth Middle School were put into lockdown Monday after a student fired multiple gunshots into a hallway ceiling.

Dr. Stephanie Burrage, superintendent of Robbinsdale Area Schools, says it happened at about 8:45 a.m. in a hallway outside of a bathroom, and "a few kids" witnessed it. Several law enforcement agencies responded to the school.

"Any time there is a gun in a school, it puts all of our kids in jeopardy," Burrage said.

No one was hurt, and the student was taken into custody. A weapon was also recovered. A source in the district tells WCCO that assistant principal Kim Royston disarmed the student. The former University of Minnesota football player shouted at the child to put the gun down. He dropped it, and Royston subdued him.

Dr. Burrage says the school resource officer then helped secure the school.

"We had someone here on site that was able to assist us immediately because they were here. They were able to call for support. We did the same," Burrage said.

Plymouth Middle School
(credit: CBS)

Samantha Billups got a phone call from her daughter.

"She said, 'Ma.' I said, 'Yeah?' She said, 'It's been a shooting at school,' and I'm like, 'What?' She was like, 'They are shooting at school,'" said Samantha Billups.

Brailyn Billups was one of those students who saw it all.

"Everybody was coming out of class and then we were all having a nice conversation until we heard these like, boom, boom, boom, boom," Brailyn said. "And at first everybody turned around because we thought it was people banging on lockers. We started running, it was too many people trying to get out the door, like the door was closing and everybody was getting stuck. And then people were dropping their belongings and stuff and then we like ran out the door into the field."

Brailyn and her friends were able to get outside. Quina Davis' daughter got to safety inside the building before using a friend's phone.

"She eventually texted me and said she was in the same vicinity of where the shooting was happening and then she started running and she got to the gym and she's been locked down in the gym," Davis said

A Plymouth police spokesperson says the student was unarmed and compliant when the officer got there. In the aftermath of the shooting, Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson defended the use of school resource officers.

"We have to make sure we're protected in our schools," Hutchinson said. "Regardless of what some people say, [school resources officers are] important."

Plymouth Middle School Shooting
(credit: CBS)

Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools ended the use of school resource officers following the death of George Floyd. St. Paul now has school support liaisons to engage with students in and out of the classroom.

Kalid Ali, a Como Park High School senior, believes SRO's aren't necessarily safer than the unarmed liaisons.

"You can see that one-on-one mentorship style which can prevent incidents like this from happening," Ali said. "It's like your big brother always there for you."

Once the building was secure and all 729 students inside were safe, staff walked small groups of them into the arms of their parents.

Investigators are looking into whether anything was said before shots were fired. There has been no word on a possible motive.

Plymouth Middle School will be all distance learning Tuesday to give families and staff time to process what happened.

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