GADSDEN, Ala. — A person who was trying to enter an Alabama elementary school where a summer program was being held was shot to death by a police officer Thursday morning, authorities said.
Gadsden City Schools Superintendent Tony Reddick told reporters that a “potential intruder” went to several doors trying to get into Walnut Park Elementary School, where a summer literacy program was being conducted for 34 children. All the exterior doors were already locked, he said, and the principal sought help when she realized what was happening.
Etowah County Sheriff Jonathon Horton told The Gadsden Times that a police officer from nearby Rainbow City was working as a school resource officer and encountered the person, got involved in an altercation and called for backup, Horton said. At least one other officer responded and the person was shot to death.
No students were hurt, sheriff’s officials said. “All kids are out” of the building, Reddick said, and most didn’t even realize something had happened.
“We don’t know the potential of what could have happened had those two officers not responded the way they did, so we very much commend them for that,” Reddick said.
Authorities didn’t immediately release the identity of the person who was killed or any details about the altercation, including whether the person who died was armed or why they might have been trying to get into the school.
The Rainbow City officer suffered minor injuries, Horton said.
Gadsden is about 60 miles northeast of Birmingham.