Police in West Virginia took a 14-year-old boy in custody Tuesday for holding hostage a class of 29 students and a teacher at gunpoint in a high school. The boy surrendered following negotiations with police.
The incident occurred at Philip Barbour High School in the state’s north-central Barbour County around 1 p.m. and no injuries were reported. The boy, armed with a pistol, took hostage a classroom at the school's second floor, the state police said, in a Facebook statement.
Barbour County Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Woofter told the Associated Press (AP) that students entering for the next class were asked to leave when they opened the door of the classroom where the teen was holding the hostages. These students alerted another teacher, who then informed school officials about the situation. An assistant principal then asked for the police to be alerted, Woofter said.
Officials said that the school was placed on lockdown after evacuating other students on a football field who were then sent home. Police officials were reportedly able to bring the situation under control by about 3:30 p.m.
“After initial negotiations, the suspect agreed to release all of the hostages. After further negotiations, the suspect put the gun down and surrendered to law enforcement without further incident,” the police said in the statement.
The teenager was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and investigators would decide on the next course of action after he is released, the statement added. It is not clear what triggered the incident.
State Police Capt. Dave Reider said that law enforcement security would be beefed up at the school Wednesday when classes resume, the AP reported. While the school will open on schedule, classes will commence after two hours, he added.