Guidance counselor credited with stopping school shooter

Guidance counselor credited with stopping school shooter »Play Video
Parents wait to reunite with their children after a student was shot and critically wounded on the first day of classes at Perry Hall High School, Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
PERRY HALL, Md. (AP) - A 15-year-old student has been charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder in a shooting on the first day of classes at a Baltimore County high school, authorities said Tuesday.

Robert Wayne Gladden, Jr., was also charged with first-degree assault and was being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center, Baltimore County police said. No hearing has been scheduled for Gladden and the state's attorney's office did not know if he had legal representation. Police plan to hold a news conference later Tuesday.

Classes resumed Tuesday at Perry Hall High School amid a low-key police presence and about 150 students turned out for a prayer vigil organized by local churches on the grounds of the school.

Shane Boyer, 44, who was dropping off his 13-year-old daughter Corinne, said the vigil helped calm students still dealing with the shooting. Boyer says he knew immediately that his daughter was safe after the shooting because he received text messages from her. One read, "Someone just shot a gun in lunch," followed by another that said, "I ran out I am do (sic) scared there's helicopters + cops + we are all outside."

Authorities say the student opened fire Monday at the high school, allegedly getting off two shots and wounding a classmate before being rushed by teachers. The 17-year-old victim remained in critical condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center on Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The suspect's father spoke to a reporter at his home that evening and said his son was the shooter. When asked about a motive for the shooting, the father indicated his son had been bullied. He gave no further details.

A woman who was also at the home and said she was related to the father, gave the following statement to the AP on the family's behalf: "We are horrified. We did not see this coming and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and the victim's family."

Jordan Coates, a 17-year-old student who was in the cafeteria at the time of the shooting, said the student used a shotgun.

Coates said he watched teachers, including guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer, pin the student against a vending machine.

"My back was to the door. I heard a pop and thought it was a bag because people do that, but then I heard another one," Coates said. "And I turned around and a teacher had a kid pinned up against the vending machine, and I saw the barrel, and another shot goes off and people just start running."

Coates credited Wasmer with helping to stop the shooting, and numerous students went on Twitter to thank him.

"He grabbed the gun from the kid and got him" until other teachers came over, Coates said.

"We have some heroic and brave faculty members," Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance said. "They responded very quickly to minimize damage."