A shooting at a suburban Indianapolis middle school left two injured and a middle school student in custody. Science teacher Jason Seaman stopped the shooter but was himself shot, three times his mother said.
He said he’d take a bullet to protect his students. Friday he took three.
First reported at around 9:15 a.m., the active shooter scene was “Every parent’s nightmare,” a parent of a Noblesville West Middle School student told local media.
Police said a male seventh grade student came into the class armed with two guns, shot 13-year-old Ella Whistler and shot at Seaman who “swatted” at the guns and “tackled” the student. Whistler was reported to be in critical condition Friday night but her family issued a statement saying she was “stable.” Her family said they were grateful for first responders, and for the prayers and support they’ve received but asked for privacy. “We will spend the next days and weeks processing what happened and why…” the family said in a statement reported by local media.
In a statement, Seaman said, “First of all, thank you to the first responders from Noblesville and Fishers for their immediate action and care. i want to let everyone know that I was injured but am doing great. To all the students, you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. ‘I Deeply Care For my Students & That’s Why I Did What I Did’ Seaman Said on Memorial Day
Jason Seaman, a Noblesville West Middle School seventh grade science teacher swatted away the gun and tackled the teenage shooter, it’s been reported by students and shared on social media.
Seaman was injured and is currently hospitalized. His mother Krisit J. Hubly Seaman first posted on Facebook that her son was shot three times and underwent surgery.
“Please pray for my son Jason. This morning there was a shooting at his school Noblesville West Jr High. He was hit 3 times & is undergoing surgery now. We are told he is in good condition but haven’t gotten to see him yet. I thank God that no one was killed.”
Two hours later Kristi Seaman updated her Facebook to share that her son Jason was out of surgery and was in good condition.
The much-praised and apparently well-liked teacher is said to have been able to disarm the shooter but not before being shot himself.
Here’s a recent post by Seaman on his teacher Twitter page where he shared an image of kids taking stuff apart: “Successful day reverse engineering @NobWestMS Students loved taking apart electronics to determine what they’re made of.”
Another Twitter post of his students: “Nothing says physics like catapults! Prototypes being built and a lot is being learned @NobWestMS #WeAreWest 1st attempt Lego trebuchet.”
The tweets and Facebook thanks from friends and strangers to Seaman for undoubtedly saving lives are voluminous and too many to count. But a tweet from former student reveals that Seaman was always prepared to risk his life for his kids.
Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) issued a statement Saturday and posted a video message to YouTube.
She said of Seaman, he “selflessly put himself in harm’s way to protect his students and it is because of his heroic actions more students were not hurt. The school resource officer, school nurse, bus drivers, and medical professionals who worked to save the lives of those injured, are inspirations to us all. I am thankful for their courageous actions during such a chaotic time.”
“As we move forward in the days and weeks to come, and embark upon a healing process, it is important to continue prayers and efforts to support Jason Seaman, injured student Ella Whistler, all students, teachers and administrators of the Noblesville school district, their families, as well as the first responders who responded swiftly to a horrific scene,” she said.
“I encourage people to reach out to mental health professionals to learn how to cope and process what happened yesterday, and how to best support their children, family members or friends who may be struggling. This will be a complex matter to process as a community, but Noblesville is a strong and resilient city. We are on this journey together.”
2. Seaman Was Previously Best Known as a Defensive Lineman at Southern Illinois University
Jason Seaman graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching. He began working for the Noblesville School District in July of 2014. Previously, he’d worked as Instructional Assistant-Harrison Parkway Elementary, according to his LinkedIn.
Seaman was a defensive lineman at SIU. In a 2010 article, it was reported that SIU “showed interest in Seaman during his junior year at Mahomet-Seymou. He made a couple of unofficial visits and was on campus for a Junior Day. But a knee injury his junior year ended the Illinois recruitment,” the story read.
“Seaman is happy to have landed at Southern Illinois, which won 20 games his sophomore and junior seasons. He played for Jerry Kill and current Salukis coach Dale Lennon: ‘Both have been awesome,’ Seaman said. ‘I can’t complain at all about how things have turned out.'”
Seaman’s mother Kristi has scores of posts and photos of her son on her Facebook page; her pride and love evident.
Seaman coaches the NWMS boys football team
The Indianapolis Star spoke with parents and students. Parent Jeremie Lovall’s daughter was in the classroom where the shooting occurred. She called her father to say she was not harmed and, “…kept saying, ‘I saw my teacher get shot.'”
An eighth grade student named Jacob Long told the paper many students in his class were crying and there were “teachers taking off their belts to tether doors.”
3.The Report of an Active School Shooting Came Shortly After 9 A.M. at Noblesville West Middle School. Medics Were Dispatched to Room 619 Where at Least 2 Were First Reported Injured; Seaman & a 13-Year-Old Female Student
The first call came in just after 9 a.m., the first class period of the school day at Noblesville West Middle School. An audio recording provides a a calm, professional but urgent account of the events of the “active shooting,” at the middle school.
The “shots were fired reportedly on the second floor of the building, SWAT officers are sweeping the building now,” it was reported. Reports and the dispatch call reported that by 9:20 it was clear it was an active shooting and at least two were injured. A helicopter was requested.
Reports Sunday said Noblesville Police School Resource Officer Michael Steffen heard the shots, rushed to the classroom and, police told local media, and another police officer reported that Steffen “helped stop shooter after Jason Seaman tackled him” and then attended to the injured.
“Not only did he go towards gunfire, address the threat, and provide medical attention, he has been a part of establishing a culture of awareness and safety at NWMS.”
The official press release said, “Officers located the alleged shooter and two victims in a classroom in the school. The alleged suspect was taken into custody and the victims were immediately treated for gunshot wounds. The victims were identified as a female student and a male teacher. The alleged male suspect was identified as a student.”
Student Ella Whistler was shot and taken to Riley Children’s Hospital. Her condition was reported to be critical Friday night.
4. Evacuated NWMS Kids Were Bused to Noblesville High School, Which Was Temporarily on Lockdown After a Hoax Shooting Threat
Authorities said all students were being taken to the Noblesville High School and parents are asked to pick their kids up there. But as parents were heading to the high school or had arrived, it was reported that Noblesville High School itself was on lock-down because of a text threat.
Indiana State Police Cpt. David Bursten told Fox 59 news that law enforcement would track down whoever made the threat “and that person will be arrested and prosecuted to the highest degree.” It was reported Saturday night that two people were questioned in reference to the threat but were released.
Meanwhile, police said students would be released to parents with identification and advised parents to “stay calm and show ID,” at Noblesville High School where the middle school students would be arriving in buses. They added, “If you haven’t received a call, your child is OK.”
Police presence has been requested at “all schools” it was reported. Lines of parents could be seen wrapped around the high school awaiting access to their kids.
5. As Parkland Survivors Rally Behind Noblesville, Vigils, Peaceful Protests, Counseling & Moments of Silence Were Held & the Mayor Praised All Involved
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting survivor and now student gun-control activist Lauren Hogg tweeted out support and solidarity.
As March For Our Lives was tweeting its encouragement to the students of the middle school saying “Our heart is broken to hear about yet another school shooting. We send our love to the community and all who were affected. March For Our Lives stands with Noblesville,” a student survivor tweeted back: ,
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett asked for a call to action.
With the celebration of the Indy 500 weekend as a backdrop, counseling support, a vigil, moments of silence and a fundraising effort were being held Memorial Day Weekend to honor the victims and responders. And peaceful student gun control protests.
According to its website, Noblesville Schools is a “nationally recognized school district serving approximately 10,000 students, with over 1,500 employees, across 10 different school sites in Noblesville, Indiana. The academic achievements of our students make us a top performing district in the state of Indiana, and led Newsweek to name Noblesville High School one of the best high schools in the nation.”
The Noblesville School district has 11 schools. Noblesville West Middle School is home to 1346 students.
Mayor John Ditslear thanked and praised the quick efforts of myriad rescue, law enforcement and responder agencies involved, “Fishers, Carmel, Cicero, Westfield, Lawrence, Whitestown and Elwood police departments; Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office; Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency; Indiana State Police; Hamilton County Health Department; Fishers, Carmel, Sheridan, Jackson Township, Cicero and Westfield fire departments; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Homeland Security; Madison County Sheriff’s Office; StatFlight; and St. Vincent, Riverview Health, Methodist, IU Health and Riley Children’s hospitals.”