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CINCINNATI — Other students began yelling as a 17-year-old boy sitting in the front of a classroom pulled out a handgun and shot himself in the head, according to a police report.
The student remained in critical condition in a hospital today as classes resumed at La Salle High School.
Green Township police said there were at least 21 other students in the first-period classroom Monday morning at the all-male Catholic school west of Cincinnati. Teacher Michael Holman told police he was at his desk when he heard yelling, then saw the youth struggle briefly with the handgun, put it to his right temple and fire.
He “discharged one round into his head,” the police report stated.
The student is a junior and an honors student. He made the top honor roll on the most recent academic report and has been active in Boy Scouts. School spokesman Greg Tankersley said he has an extensive record of community service, and has been “highly involved” in school life.
Holman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. He is an English teacher and the school’s director of the Lasallian Scholars Institute, a program for high-performing students.
Tankersley said an all-school prayer service and discussion was planned today, with grief counselors on hand. He said school officials felt it was important to bring students back together to talk about what happened.
Green Township police said they would review security at the school, but Chief Bart West said school officials reacted according to their safety plan Monday. The school was put in lockdown, and students were later dismissed to parents.
Improving school security has been a high priority around the state in the aftermath of last year’s fatal shooting of three students at Chardon High School in northeast Ohio and the December shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Officials say the FBI and U.S. Secret Service have gotten involved in a bomb-threat investigation at Cuyahoga Falls in northeast Ohio, which was closed Monday as a precaution. There was a similar threat there in March.
Green Township police were investigating how the boy obtained what they described only as a semi-automatic handgun.
His family has requested privacy while they focus on efforts to save his life by the University of Cincinnati Medical Center doctors and staff.