Man chases teens after shots fired at Taylorsville High

Jan 26, 2023, 10:41 PM | Updated: Jan 27, 2023, 1:09 pm

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Hours into the school day at Taylorsville High Thursday afternoon, a loud noise grabbed the attention of a man who lives in the neighborhood that backs up to the high school parking lot.

Audio from David Lewis’ ring camera captured what sounded like two gunshots about six seconds apart. Lewis said he recognized it as gunshots immediately and his doorbell camera shows him run inside his home and then back outside with a gun in his hand.

“It was quick. Everything happened really quick,” he said. “You hear the gunshots and you just go into action.”

Lewis took off after two kids who he said tossed a backpack into his yard and then sprinted passed a seminary building and away from the parking lot where police said the shooting happened.

Meantime, many students inside the school had just wrapped up eating lunch when teachers began ushering them into the nearest classrooms.

“I just see a bunch of teachers waving like, ‘come on, come on!’” Gabe Hasler remembers.

Hasler, who is in ninth grade, said the teacher told students to get away from the window and stay behind a brick wall in the classroom.

Gabe’s sister Matisse, who is the school’s junior class vice president, said she knew it wasn’t a drill because they had just had a fire drill that morning.

The teacher in the random classroom she entered shut off the lights and told everyone to get under the desks.

“And I was squeezing my friend’s hand and just I don’t even know, I don’t know what I was thinking,” she said

“There’s this girl sitting next to me having a panic attack and my friend who was with me, she was trying to calm her down and say, ‘It’s OK. It’s OK.’”

Gabe begins getting texts from friends, teammates and family and is “terrified” to learn there is a gun on campus.

“What do we do? We trained for this but when it actually ends up happening it’s…a lot’s going through your mind,” he said.

The Haslers said they heard other students tell them their teachers were still teaching with the blinds open. But for others, fear, confusion and anxiety set in.

Matisse texted Gabe, her mom and several friends, telling them that she loved them but also reassuring them that things were going to be OK.

But as minutes turned into an hour, the uncertainty remained and Gabe texted his best friend, “Hey, don’t try to be a hero. I can’t live without you.”

The head coach of the Taylorsville High School drill team was among many who raced to the school when she found out what happened from many of the girls on the team.

She says she worked to get information from administrators to her team and their parents. And she was there to greet them when they were finally allowed to leave.

“It was scary. It was hard to not be able to do anything outside. And then to watch — like two of my girls ran to me and they were just bawling. And I kind of lost it too,” she said.

“It’s just, those are situations you never think you’re going to be in and I’m so grateful no one was hurt.”

Someone nearby captured the embrace between Jessica Dove and one of her girls from the dance team.

Lewis ultimately turned back and police took over the search for the people involved, including searching classrooms.

“I just wanted to make sure that they weren’t going to harm anyone else or it wasn’t an active shooter situation. I just, in the moment, you don’t know,” Lewis said.

The final bell came and went at 2:10 p.m. Finally, after about two hours of uncertainty, students were told to leave their classrooms.

“I think lots of kids are going to be scared and need help,” Matisse said.

The district said crisis counselors would be available at school Friday for anyone needing mental health support.

“I think we’re going to be OK,” Gabe said. “I think we’re going to bounce back and we’re going to do well.”

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Man chases teens after shots fired at Taylorsville High