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Hero Teacher Saved Students' Lives, Possibly School Shooter's Too

North Thurston Public Schools
Social studies teacher Brady Olson tackled the alleged school shooter.

When a 16-year-old student fired shots at North Thurston High School Monday morning, Lacey, Washington, Police Commander Jim Mack said an armed officer assigned to the school was nearby and ran toward the noise.

But Brady Olson, a teacher at the school, tackled the shooter first, which may have saved the young man's life.

"He is very fortunate because the officer was prepared to use his firearm to protect students and staff at the school,” Mack said.

Mack said the suspect later told investigators he was "upset" and was having some kind of personality conflicts. But the teen reportedly said his intent was not to hurt anybody besides possibly himself. He fired the shots into the floor and ceiling of the school’s crowded commons area.

In a statement released by the school, Olson said, "I reacted in a way that any other teacher would react and at the sound of a gunshot had three other adults, including Tim Brown, Dean of Students, Principal Steve Rood, and Security Officer, Jim Beltico, going toward the sound of gun fire rather than away."

Police said the student brought a six-shot revolver to school from home.

At the same afternoon press briefing, a North Thurston School District spokeswoman said the alleged shooter had no disciplinary record at the school. However, he had been there only a short time after transferring from another high school in Western Washington.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.