Armed confrontation in Austin-East Magnet High School in Tennessee state's Knoxville city leaves a student dead and an officer wounded, officials say.
A confrontation in a Tennessee high school that involved police officers responding to a report of a possible armed man, has left one person dead and an officer wounded, authorities said.
No other persons were killed or wounded, police said on Monday, adding the scene had been secured at the Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville following the afternoon shooting.
Bureau of Investigation Director David B. Rausch said at a news conference later that officers encountered an armed student in a bathroom and ordered him out but he wouldn't comply.
Rausch said that's when he reportedly opened fire, and police fired back.
The student died at the school and an officer was wounded and was taken into surgery.
Authorities said another person was detained for further investigation.
The Knoxville Police Department posted on Facebook that officers responded to reports of a male subject who was possibly armed at the school around around 3:15 pm (local time).
"Upon approach of the subject, shots were fired," the post said.
"A Knoxville Police officer was struck at least one time and transported to the hospital with injuries that are not expected to be life threatening. One male was pronounced dead at the scene."
The school was the subject of media reports in February after three students were shot to death over a three-week span.
Those earlier shootings did not take place in the school, and administrators at the time said students felt the arts magnet school was a safe space, according to a story in the Knoxville News Sentinel.
A reunification site has been established at the baseball field behind Austin-East High School near Wilson and S. Hembree. https://t.co/zmQGzwb6cO— Knoxville Police TN (@Knoxville_PD) April 12, 2021
School building sealed
Bob Thomas, the superintendent of Knox County Schools, tweeted that a shooting had occurred but the building had been secured.
"The school building has been secured and students who were not involved in the incident have been released to their families," Thomas said.
He added in a separate tweet that authorities were gathering information and about "this tragic situation" and that additional information would be provided later.
Police urged people to avoid the area.
Details remained sketchy and news outlets showed numerous police and emergency vehicles at the scene.
Last week, Republican Governor Bill Lee signed off on legislation that would make Tennessee the latest state to soon allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns – openly or concealed – without first clearing a background check and training.
Lee backed the legislation over objections from law enforcement groups, who argued that the state's existing permit system provided an important safeguard for knowing who should or shouldn't be carrying a gun.
The law, which does not apply to long guns, will take effect July 1.
The new measure also increases certain penalties. For example, theft of a firearm "now a misdemeanor that carries a 30-day sentence" will become a felony with a mandatory six month incarceration.
It also makes exceptions for people with certain mental illnesses and criminal convictions.
When asked earlier this year whether other recent mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado and others gave him any concern about timing, Lee has previously said the increased penalties mean that "we in fact will be strengthening laws that would help prevent gun crimes in the future."
Country plagued by school shootings
The United States has been plagued by school shootings since the massacre at Columbine, in the state of Colorado, in April 1999.
Monday's shooting in Tennessee comes on the heels of President Joe Biden unveiling proposals to expand gun control.
Biden branded gun violence an "epidemic" and an "international embarrassment" during his April 8 speech.