MARINETTE, Wis. (CBS/WFRV/AP) A student armed with a handgun held nearly two dozen students and a teacher hostage in a Wisconsin high school for about five hours before shooting himself when police broke into the classroom, authorities said Monday. No other injuries were reported.
Officers who were outside the Marinette High School classroom said they heard three gunshots shortly after 8 p.m. and busted through the door, said Police Chief Jeff Skorik. The 15-year-old male gunman then shot himself.
Skorik said the teen was taken to an area hospital and his condition was not immediately known Monday night.
Five of the 23 students who had been taken hostage about 3 p.m. had been released about 20 minutes before police entered the classroom because they told the gunman they had to use the bathroom, Skorik said.
The other 18 students and the female teacher, who had acted as a mediator between the male hostage-taker and authorities, were released unharmed once officers were inside.
Skorik said the gunman had refused to communicate with officials during the standoff, but allowed the teacher to speak with authorities by phone.
A SWAT team had arrived at the school Monday evening, city councilman Bradley Behrendt said from the scene about 50 miles north of Green Bay.
"I would say there's over 100 officers here, everyone from Marinette County, Green Bay ... It's very shocking. You've just got to hope and pray no one will be hurt," Behrendt said. "They just spent a whole bundle of money on classroom doors to make them secure, but they don't have metal detectors at the school."
The police chief said 23 students were initially held in the classroom along with the teacher. He said police knew the suspect's identity and investigators were interviewing his parents.
"We have no idea as far as motivations at this point," the chief said Monday evening.
Choral teacher Bonita Weydt said she was talking with a teacher in another classroom after school, which lets out about 3:10 p.m., when principal Corry Lambie came in.
"I said, `Corry, what's going on?' and he said, `Get out of the building,"' Weydt said.
Officials said parents were asked to gather at the county courthouse, where school officials and mental health counselors were meeting with families and reviewing a class roster.
Marinette, a town of about 12,000 people, sits on the border with Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The high school has an annual enrollment of approximately 800 students, according to its website.