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A 17-year-old gunman killed a sixth-grader and wounded five people at an Iowa school. The shooter is also dead

Jan 4, 2024, 3:19 PM

Police respond to a shooting at Perry High School in Perry, Iowa, on Thursday.
Mandatory Credit:	An...

Police respond to a shooting at Perry High School in Perry, Iowa, on Thursday. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP

(CNN) — A 17-year-old gunman killed a sixth grade student and wounded five other people Thursday morning at Perry High School near Des Moines, Iowa, authorities said.

The five people wounded include four students and one school administrator, officials said.

The shooter was identified as Dylan Butler, who was also a student at the high school, according to Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Iowa Department of Public Safety Division of Criminal Investigation. Mortvedt said the shooter was located with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Officers responded to the shooting within minutes and found several people at the high school suffering gunshot wounds, Mortvedt said.

An improvised explosive device was also found during a search of the school and rendered safe by authorities.

The gunman was armed with a pump-action shotgun and a small caliber handgun, and he had also made a number of social media posts around the time of the shooting, said Mortvedt, who did not offer more details on the contents of those posts.

Evidence suggests the shooter acted alone and authorities do not believe there are any additional threats.

“It all happened in the Perry High School, and it was before school started so there were not many students, and it’s our understanding that there was a breakfast program going on so there may have been students of different grades … in the school at that time,” Mortvedt said.

LIVE UPDATES: Shooting at high school in Perry, Iowa

The attack erupted on the first scheduled day of classes of the new semester, according to the district. It followed a year in which more than 80 school shootings – more than in any year since CNN began keeping track in 2008 – were recorded, and came as Republican presidential candidates crisscross the state, vying for voters’ support ahead of the Iowa caucuses this month.

Authorities responded within 7 minutes to a 7:37 a.m. call of an active shooter at the campus, Dallas County Sheriff Adam Infante had said earlier Thursday. “There was very few students and faculty in the building,” he said, noting classes had not yet begun.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed their agents had responded to the high school, as did the Iowa State Patrol, Sgt. Alex Dinkla told CNN, and police vehicles from multiple cities.

“We are assisting the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, who is the lead investigative agency,” the FBI said in a statement.

“Multiple law enforcement and medical staff are on site for a shooting at Perry High School,” according to an earlier post on the Dallas County Facebook page. “The site has been secured and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office will release more information as it becomes available.”

Perry is about 40 miles northwest of Des Moines and has a population of about 8,000, according to the US Census Bureau. The Perry Community School District — comprised of the high school, a middle school and an elementary school — serves about 1,800 students, its website says.

Late Thursday morning, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds expressed support for the community, its students, teachers and families, writing on X, “Our hearts are broken by this senseless tragedy.”

Former South Carolina governor and GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley similarly reacted, writing on the platform formerly known as Twitter, “No parent, student, or teacher should have to wake up and face news about a school shooting.”

“My heart aches for the victims of Perry, Iowa and the entire community,” Haley wrote on X.

Kris Brown, president of Brady United Against Gun Violence, a gun violence prevention organization, lamented the fact that gun violence plaguing the United States continues, saying in a statement, “New year, same horror.”

“2024 should not start this way for the students of Perry High School or any student in our nation,” Brown said, expressing support for the community. “This year – as with every year – we are resolved to end this deadly epidemic and free America from gun violence.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

CNN’s Hannah Rabinowitz, Betsy Klein, Holmes Lybrand and Asher Moskowitz contributed to this report.


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A 17-year-old gunman killed a sixth-grader and wounded five people at an Iowa school. The shooter is also dead