OLATHE, Kan. — Hundreds of Olathe families are happy to be reunited Friday after a frantic day. Three people, including the suspect, were shot at Olathe East High School.
The Olathe Police Department said an 18-year-old student shot a school resource officer and a school administrator in the office area. Police said the school resource officer then shot and disarmed the student, who is now in custody.
Amid the chaos, the school building went on lockdown, and parents were notified of a dismissal plan.
But it took hours Friday for parents to finally see their students again. Many were glued to their cell phones — texting, calling, trying to get any updates from their children.
“I’m trying to keep myself together,” Eloise McAllister said.
“I was scared to death,” mom Courtney Thurman said.
The Johnson County mom got calls and texts from her kids and nieces inside Olathe East saying, “Someone has a gun.”
“I just told them to stay safe and know that they’re loved,” she said.
Other parents got similarly scary texts.
“Honestly I got a text from my son that said, ‘If I get shot today, I love you,'” parent Cory Stone said.
But the anxiety eased as kids were slowly bussed to two nearby middle schools where hundreds of parents were able to pick up their children.
“I was so happy I started crying when she got off the bus. I about jumped up on her,” mom Keicia Stillman said.
“I got him,” Glyde Elmore Sr. told his wife on the phone, letting her know their son was safe in his arms.
Families were emotional with plenty of hugs and tears of relief.
“Right now I just feel happy. I’m feeling happy,” Elmore said. “No kids should have to go through this in their lifetime. No generation.”
His son, Glyde Elmore Jr., said the entire event was chaotic. With the school on lockdown, that meant no restroom, no leaving the classroom until an officer arrived to escort them out.
“I panicked. I got scared for my friends because we were in different classrooms at the time,” he said.
“It’s very jarring and kind of scary because you don’t think it will happen. I mean, everyone says that, you don’t think it will happen in your school,” Sarah Peterson said.
While no students except the suspect were injured, there’s still some uncertainty for what’s ahead and a hope for change.
Elmore Sr. said he hopes community leaders and school officials take a hard look at school security so this doesn’t happen again.
“I hope they find some way to measure up and do better in the schools for our children,” he said.
Still, parents said they know this Olathe community will rally together and support these students after a traumatic event.
“Just remember you’re not alone … You’re going to be supported regardless of what happens,” one Olathe mom said. “We need to be there for each other.”
And their thoughts also turn to the school administrator and school resource officer who were both shot.
“I’m hoping and praying for those who were injured, that they are OK and they can move forward,” Peterson said.
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