Suspect Dead After Shooting Outside of a Gadsden School

A shooting took place today outside of a Gadsden elementary school leaving one person dead.

The incident took place at approximately 9:30 a.m. outside Walnut Park Elementary School. The school is located in the Walnut Park section of Gadsden near the old Republic Steel plant.

Gadsden City School Superintendent Tony Reddick said 34 children were in the school at the time of the incident, as a summer literacy camp for elementary-age children was taking place.

Etowah County Sheriff Jonathan Horton said a resident called Attalla police reporting a suspicious man outside the school.

According to Reddick, the man was trying to get into vehicles and aggressively tried to open several door ways. The school went into lockdown, following protocols, Reddick said. It’s unclear what touched off the incident.


A school resource officer on site responded, talked with the man and called for backup. When a second officer arrived, an altercation ensued. The suspect was then fatally shot. Officials have not said if the man was armed.

A Rainbow City police officer suffered minor injuries in the scuffle. Within minutes, dozens of officers from several different agencies were on the scene.

All children in the school at the time of the incident had been safely picked up from Gadsden City High School within 20 minutes of being taken from the school. Reddick said most of the children and instructors did not know what had happened when they were transported.
“We’re just so thankful that none of this involved the children,” Reddick said. “Everyone followed the safety protocols that we’ve drilled on.”

“At the end of the day, the good news is no one made it into the building, and the kids were safe,” Horton said.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s State Bureau of Investigation will lead the probe, as this is still under investigation.

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