ABOVE: Imagine walking into the school gym preparing for the day when you see a gunman with a rifle aimed right for you. He fires – and you’re grazed by a bullet. What teacher Todd Risplar did next is being called heroic.
TROUTDALE, Ore. – A teenage gunman armed with a rifle shot and killed a student Tuesday and injured a teacher shortly after classes started at a U.S. school and was later found dead as police arrived, authorities in Oregon said.
The shooting follows a series of attacks at or near school campuses across the country.
After the shooting stopped, police spotted the suspect slumped on a toilet in a bathroom but couldn’t see what was happening with him.
Officers used a robot with a camera to investigate and discovered the suspect was dead and that he had likely killed himself, Troutdale, police spokesman Sgt. Carey Kaer said.
Authorities have tentatively identified the gunman and the slain student, who was found in a locker room at Reynolds High School, but the names were being withheld until their families were notified, police Chief Scott Anderson said.
The attack panicked students, and a lockdown was ordered.
Morgan Rose, 15, said she hid in a locker room with another student and two teachers.
“It was scary in the moment. Now knowing everything’s OK I’m better,” she said.
WATCH: Following news of the shooting, anxious parents and family members gathered outside Reynolds High School to await news of their loved ones
Daniel DeLong, 15, said he saw a physical education teacher at the school with a bloodied shirt.
“It just, like, happened so fast, you know?” he said.
The first reports of shots fired came at 8 a.m. on the next-to-last-day of classes. Police initially seemed uncertain about whether there was a live shooter in the school.
Students were eventually led from the school with hands on their heads. Parents and students were reunited in a supermarket parking lot.
The Oregon violence came less than a week after a gunman opened fire on a college campus in neighbouring Washington state, killing a 19-year-old man and wounding two others. It follows a string of mass shootings that have disturbed the nation, including one on Sunday in Nevada that left two Las Vegas police officers and a civilian dead.
Gun control is a fiercely divisive issue in the United States, where the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution, alongside such basic rights as free speech and freedom of religion.
President Barack Obama‘s plan for broader background checks on gun purchases, along with proposals for a ban on military-style assault rifles and limits on ammunition capacity, failed last year in Congress.
That was despite the December 2012 killings of 20 children and six adults at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, that shocked the nation.
© The Canadian Press, 2014