A teacher is being credited with disarming a student suspected of opening fire at an Indiana middle school.
Jason Seaman, 29, is a “hero” who tackled the unnamed suspect, according to a boy who was in the class and spoke to CNN affiliates WRTV and WXIN.
“If it wasn’t for him, more of us could have been injured, for sure,” said the boy, whose name and face were not shown. He said the class was taking a science test when the student shooter came into the classroom and fired “four to six” times before Seaman subdued him.
“We could have been killed, anything … ,” the boy said. “Something bad (could have happened) to us.”
Seaman and an unnamed female student were hit by bullets and taken to hospitals after the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Noblesville, about 25 miles northeast of Indianapolis. The teacher was in good condition, and the girl in critical condition, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said Friday night.
Seaman has been released from the hospital, US Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana said in a video posted to her social media accounts Saturday. Brooks said she had “just met” Seaman.
“Jason Seaman selflessly put himself in harm’s way to protect his students and it is because of his heroic actions more students were not hurt,” Brooks said.
‘He tackled him to the ground’
The shooting occurred shortly after 9 a.m. Friday.
The suspected shooter came into the class and started firing, striking a girl, said the boy, who spoke to TV reporters.
“Mr. Seaman started running at him,” the boy said. “He tackled him to the ground. We were all hiding in the back of a classroom behind some desks, then (Seaman) was yelling to call 911, to get out of the building as fast as we could, so we ran (out).”
In a statement Friday evening, Seaman, who teaches seventh grade and coaches football, thanked first responders for the “immediate action and care.”
He added, “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.”
Seaman’s mother, Kristi J. Hubly Seaman, posted updates earlier on Facebook.
“Jason is out of surgery and is doing well,” she wrote Friday afternoon. “3 shots - 1 through the abdomen, 1 in the hip & 1 in the forearm. PLEASE pray for the student that was also shot.”
Seaman’s aunt, Brenda Hubly-Sushka, told CNN no one in the family was surprised by his actions.
“That’s just what he does,” she said. “He’s a great kid. Well, he’s not a kid anymore.”
Seaman’s brother is a teacher in Arizona.
“It’s surreal,” he said. “We read about it, and it seems like there’s one happening every day now. Never realize it’s going to hit so close to home. I’m still at a loss for words.”
Teacher was college football player
Seaman played defensive line and lettered four years in football from 2007-10 at Southern Illinois University, the university said.
It said Seaman is a native of Mahomet, Illinois, earned Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Academic team honors and was on the track team.
“He was a great teammate, one of the team’s hardest workers,” said current Southern Illinois football head coach Nick Hill, who played on the same team with Seaman during the 2007 season. “You could always trust him to do the right thing.”
‘An extraordinary story’
President Donald Trump praised Seaman in a tweet Saturday morning.
“Thanks to very brave Teacher & Hero Jason Seaman of Noblesville, Indiana, for his heroic act in saving so many precious young lives,” he wrote. “His quick and automatic action is being talked about all over the world!”
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb praised the almost “textbook” responses.
“We are so appreciative and in awe, quite frankly,” Holcomb said. “Students, teachers, faculty acted swiftly and appropriately and I’m sure because of that lives were saved.”
Doug Carter, Indiana State Police superintendent, declined to elaborate on Seaman’s role.
“An extraordinary story for another day,” he said.