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Iowa school shooting: 6th grade student dead, 5 others injured in Perry High School shooting, suspect identified

Sixth grader killed in Perry, Iowa school shooting, 5 injured
Sixth grader killed in Perry, Iowa school shooting, 5 injured 01:04

PERRY, Iowa — A middle school student is dead and five others were injured in a shooting at Perry High School in Iowa on Thursday morning, officials say.

The 17-year-old shooter was identified as Dylan Butler, according to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation's Mitch Mortvedt. Butler, a student at the high school, is dead, two different sources reported to CBS News. 

Mortvedt said the child who was killed was a 6th grade student at Perry Middle School. Four other students were injured in the shooting, along with one administrator. As of Thursday afternoon, one of the victims was in critical condition with non-life threatening injuries, and the other four were in stable condition. Mortvedt did not identify any of the victims.

One of the victims was the school's principal, Dan Marburger. According to his daughter's Facebook post, he was in surgery all day Thursday, but is in stable condition. 

Local law enforcement first received reports of the shooting around 7:37 a.m., and were on site within seven minutes. When they arrived, they found students and faculty sheltering in place, or running from the building. 

They found multiple people with gunshot wounds, including the shooter, who had a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Law enforcement also found an improvised explosive device, which they rendered safe. 

Officials said they're still working on determining Butler's motive. The shooter brought a pump action shotgun and a small caliber handgun into school, and was making social media posts around the time of the shooting. All evidence suggests Butler acted alone, Mortvedt said. 


Perry High School is located about 40 miles northwest of Des Moines. Thursday was the school's first day back after the holiday break. Classes are canceled for the day. 

Students, parents describe scene's horrors

KCCI reported that a number of parents told them that students were being turned away when they arrived this morning. Parent Erica Jolliff said that her ninth-grade daughter was rushed from school grounds at 7:45 a.m. Jolliff said she was was still looking for her sixth-grade son Amir one hour after that.

"I just want to know that he's safe and OK," Jolliff said. "They won't tell me nothing."

High school senior Ava Augustus said she was in a counselor's office, waiting for hers to arrive, when she heard three shots. She and other people barricaded the door, preparing to throw things if necessary, with a window being too small for an escape.

"And then we hear 'He's down. You can go out,'" Augustus said through tears. "And I run and you can just see glass everywhere, blood on the floor. I get to my car and they're taking a girl out of the auditorium who had been shot in her leg."

Zander Shelley, 15, was in a hallway when he heard gunshots and dashed into a classroom, according to his father, Kevin Shelley. Zander was grazed twice and hid in the classroom before texting his father at 7:36 a.m.

Kevin Shelley, who drives a garbage truck, told his boss he had to run. "It was the most scared I've been in my entire life," he said.

Rachael Kares, an 18-year-old senior, was wrapping up jazz band practice when she and her bandmates heard what she described as four gunshots, spaced apart.

"We all just jumped," Kares said. "My band teacher looked at us and yelled, 'Run!' So we ran."

Kares and many others from the school ran out past the football field, as she heard people yelling, "Get out! Get out!" She said she heard additional shots as she ran, but didn't know how many. She was more concerned about getting home to her 3-year-old son.

"At that moment I didn't care about anything except getting out because I had to get home with my son," she said.


Officials offer condolences

The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed it is monitoring the situation, adding "Agents from the FBI Omaha Des Moines resident agency are on the scene. We are assisting the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation."

A White House official says President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting and that the White House is in touch with the Iowa governor's office.

"Our hearts are broken by this senseless tragedy. Our prayers are with the students, teachers & families of the Perry Community," Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds wrote on X. She added that she has been in contact with law enforcement.

"Every Iowan stands with you," she said to community members at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

As of July 2021, Iowa does not require a permit to purchase a handgun or carry a firearm in public, though it mandates a background check for a person buying a handgun without a permit.

MORE: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, President Joe Biden react to Perry High School shooting

Perry has a population of about 8,000. The school district has about 1,800 total students, with about 575 in grades 9 through 12. 

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