An Illinois school resource officer is being praised as a hero for intervening when a former student opened fire Wednesday morning at Dixon High School.
US Vice President Mike Pence lauded the “heroic actions” of Dixon Police Officer Mark Dallas, who shot and wounded the gunman.
“Another example of the brave work performed by law enforcement each and every day. Lives were saved thanks to the heroic actions of school resource officer Mark Dallas,” Pence said on Twitter.
Suspect Matthew Milby faces three charges of aggravated discharge of a firearm and $2 million bond, Illinois State Police said. More charges may be filed.
The 19-year-old former student opened fire near the school auditorium where students had gathered for graduation ceremony rehearsal, the statement said.
The suspect fled the school and Dallas chased him, Dixon Police Chief Steven Howell said in a news conference. The suspect continued to shoot at the officer and the officer returned fire, Howell said.
Milby used a 9 mm semiautomatic rifle in the shooting that was purchased by his mother in 2012, state police said. Authorities are trying to determine how Milby got hold of the weapon.
Milby was released from the hospital on Wednesday and taken to the Lee County Jail, where he is awaiting an arraignment tentatively scheduled for Friday, state police said.
The officer is on paid administrate leave. No one else was injured.
“With shots ringing out in the hallways of the school, he charged towards the suspect and confronted him, head-on. Because of his heroic actions, countless lives were saved,” Howell said.
Dixon High School and all Dixon public schools went into lockdown during the incident.
“A tragedy was averted today in Dixon because a police officer put his life on the line to protect his fellow citizens,” said Shawn Roselieb, executive director of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council.
“The officer’s actions at the high school will be closely scrutinized, but the simple fact is, nobody but the gunman was hurt today, and keeping students and teachers safe is the primary job for school resource officers.”
Sheena Jones contributed reporting.