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Perry High School: A Place in Distress

By: Jack Nevins

Perry, Iowa. Thursday, January 4th: one middle school student was found dead, while four high school students were found injured, in critical condition, including one teacher. What was the cause of this shooting? An outside intruder looking to hurt those in the school? No, a 17-year old, upperclassmen at Perry, Dylan Butler. According to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations, Mitch Mortvedt, all signs led to Butler being the suspect. Butler was then also found dead during the investigation, and it was ruled that Butler was killed by a self-inflicted gun wound.

One of the victims was found in critical condition, while assessing non-life threatening injuries. Mortvedt did not identify and release the names of the victims. Although he did not identify any victims that were injured, one of the victims included the school’s principal, Dan Marburger. He did not face any life threatening injuries, but was found in surgery following the shooting, in stable condition, based on his daughter’s Facebook post. Students and faculty were found huddling and sheltering in one place, around the time the shooting was called in at 7:37 a.m.. Local law enforcement were onsite at the school campus within seven minutes. Multiple people were found with gunshot wounds, including the shooter who turned the gun on himself, ending his life. Butler’s motive is still being determined following his unethical actions.

This tragic event led many parents to worry, as they should, having strong reactions to the school shooting. Many students were rushed out of school after the 7:37 a.m. shooting. Erica Jolliff, the mother of a sixth-grader and ninth-grader claimed her ninth-grade daughter was pushed outside of the school building at 7:45 a.m., where she attempted to look for her brother.

Nearly an hour later, the sixth-grade brother finally turned up. Not only were parents worrying and feeling frightened, but so were the students in the school. Senior Ava Augustus was sitting in her guidance counselor’s office, where she then heard three consecutive gunshots go off. Those inside began to throw things and attempt to barricade the office door. Ava’s view of the crime scene was very graphic; “And I run and you can just see glass everywhere, blood on the floor. I get to my car and they’re taking a girl out of the auditorium who had been shot in her leg”. Zander Shelley, a sophomore at Perry, was in an empty hallway when he heard his end of the gunshots. While Zander tried sprinting to the nearest classroom he could find, he was grazed twice by a gunshot prior to texting his father one minute before the shooting was called in.

Government officials have sent their condolences and prayers to this small town in Iowa. President Joe Biden became aware of the incident after a White House official updated him on the information. Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa stated, “Our hearts are broken by this senseless tragedy. Our prayers are with the students, teachers, & families of the Perry Community.”

This is truly a tragic event that occurred, and as a high school here at Hills East, we share our condolences and prayers to Perry High School and the entire Perry community.