Principal wounded by student in South Dakota high school shooting
HARRISBURG, S.D. - Harrisburg School District Superintendent Jim Holbeck wasn't expecting a phone call from Kevin Lein on Wednesday morning. After all, the high school principal had just been shot in the arm by a student.
HARRISBURG, S.D. – Harrisburg School District Superintendent Jim Holbeck wasn’t expecting a phone call from Kevin Lein on Wednesday morning. After all, the high school principal had just been shot in the arm by a student.
“The first thing he asked me is how I was doing,” Holbeck said. “So that tells you a little bit about him.”
Harrisburg High School was shut down Wednesday after officials say a male teenage student entered Lein’s office and shot him with a handgun about 10 a.m.
Lein is expected to recover from what Sioux Falls Police department spokesman Sam Clemens described as a flesh wound.
The shooter is currently in custody awaiting charges. The gun he used to shoot Lein was recovered by investigators.
Harrisburg School District Superintendent Jim Holbeck said two staff members, assistant principal Ryan Rollinger and athletic director Joey Struwe, subdued the student until law enforcement officials arrived to take the shooter into custody.
“Nobody wants it to happen,” Holbeck said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “It’s a shame for years that schools have been preparing for this to happen, but you never want it to happen in your own back yard.”
Holbeck lauded the bravery of his staff and said Lein was in good spirits.
Clemens said investigators believe the shooter acted alone, and that students and staff are safe.
Law enforcement officials said they were unsure of the shooter’s motive. Holbeck said he was unaware of any past disciplinary issues with the shooter.
Students will return to class Thursday, school officials said.
The shooting triggered a lockdown that was in place less than 5 minutes after shots were fired, Clemens said.
‘Heroes don’t always wear capes’
Hundreds took to Twitter using the hashtag #prayforlein to offer their support of the wounded principal. Congresswoman Kristi Noem was among those who were thankful of the quick response, tweeting “Praying for Principal Lein, all the students, the community & those who stepped in to help at Harrisburg. #prayforlein.”
On Twitter, reactions to the shooting showed a unified community rallying behind Lein:
-- Twitter user Darien Poelstra (@DarienPoelstra): Still so surreal that this happened.. Thank you Rollinger, Lein, and staff for everything you did today. We are truly blessed. #prayforLein
-- Twitter user Maddy Deetz (@Deetz_43): Thankful for Lein & Rollinger who had the bravery to stop this before it got out of hand. Heroes don’t always wear capes. #prayforlein
“The thing that’s most on our mind is making sure our students and staff are OK physically and mentally,” Holbeck said. “That is the most important thing right now.
“With the parents, I hope the first thing they do is hug their kids. And that they let them know there are a lot of ways to take care of controversy, but violence is not one of them.”
Lein is a former basketball player and coach who played professionally overseas in the Netherlands, according to his school district biography web page. He previously served as the head women’s softball and basketball coach at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D. Lein is married to wife Amy, and they have two children, Kennedy and Karter.
Harrisburg is a suburb of Sioux Falls in southeast South Dakota with a population of more than 4,900.