MADISON TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Teachers and staff greeted students as they arrived Wednesday and uniformed police stood by as classes resumed in a southwest Ohio district two days after authorities say a 14-year-old boy shot two fellow students in a cafeteria.
Madison Local Schools officials said staff members joined children on their bus rides and had a first-day-of-school style welcome for the district's approximately 1,600 students. Police were on hand along with crisis counselors, while teachers and other staff lunched with students in the cafeteria where the shooting took place.
"The energy was positive in there," Superintendent Curtis Philpot said about the cafeteria where the shootings took place.
Philpot told reporters attendance at the campus just west of Middletown was at about 90 percent, "a little lower" than usual, and that absences would be excused. Students were sent home with letters with tips and information for their families.
The 14-year-old shooting suspect, James Austin Hancock, remained in juvenile detention after denying charges including attempted murder through his attorney in a brief court hearing Tuesday. Butler County authorities were considering whether to seek to move his case into adult court.
Authorities said two students were shot, two others were hurt, and all were recovering from injuries not considered life-threatening.
One of those hurt was Brant Murray, 13, with bullet fragments in a leg. He told reporters Tuesday evening he was sitting at a cafeteria table with friends Cameron Smith, 15, and Cooper Caffrey, 14, who were both shot.
"All of a sudden the kid stood up and started shooting at us, at our table," Murray told WLWT-TV in Cincinnati, adding he just tried to "stay calm and not die. It was just weird; couldn't believe what was happening."
He said he didn't realize he was hurt until he and others ran from the cafeteria into the choir room, where he rolled up a pants leg. His parents said they'll consult with a surgeon on what to do about the bullet fragments.
Murray was among hundreds of people at the Tuesday evening event for a walk-through school officials set up to help families and students feel comfortable about the resumption of classes.
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said authorities believe they know a motive for the shootings, but aren't discussing it while the investigation continues.
Investigators have said Hancock told other students he had a gun and showed it to one just before the shooting. They said someone was going to tell administrators just before the shooting. They said Hancock got the .380-caliber handgun from a family member some time earlier and that he was carrying extra ammunition.