CINCINNATI (AP) — The Roman Catholic archbishop of Cincinnati expressed sadness and offered prayers Tuesday for a wounded student, his family and those in the school community in the aftermath of a classroom suicide attempt.
The student remained hospitalized in critical condition as classes resumed at La Salle High School, an all-male Catholic school west of Cincinnati. Police said the 17-year-old student used a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun that was usually kept in a family safe in his home. It wasn't clear when and how he got the gun.
"We are all greatly saddened by the shooting," Archbishop Dennis Schnurr said in a statement. "We pray for the young man's recovery, not only from the self-inflicted wound but also from the personal challenges that led him to take this action."
The Cincinnati archdiocese covers 19 counties, including 114 Catholic primary and secondary schools. Schnurr said there are also prayers for family, the other students and the teacher who were in the classroom Monday morning and for the entire La Salle school community.
Green Township Police Chief Bart West said he visited the school Tuesday and that were no problems, and student attendance was good. School officials had said the day would begin with an all-school prayer service and that extra counselors were on campus.
Police said there were at least 21 other students in the first-period classroom Monday morning when the student attempted suicide. They said there have been no suggestions that any other students or staff were threatened.
The student is a junior and an honors student. He made the top honor roll on the most recent academic report and has been active in Boy Scouts. School spokesman Greg Tankersley said he has an extensive record of community service, and has been "highly involved" in school life.
The boy's family has requested privacy while they focus on efforts to save his life by the University of Cincinnati Medical Center doctors and staff.
"We love our son very much and have always been proud of him," the family said Tuesday in a statement released by the hospital. "We are grateful for all who continue to keep our son and our family in your prayers."
West said school officials reacted Monday according to a safety plan developed with police. The school was put in lockdown, and students were later dismissed to parents.
"We're going to sit down with the school and talk about long-term security plans and see if there should be any changes," West said. "I think they did a really good job."
Improving school security has been a priority around the state in the aftermath of last year's fatal shooting of three students at Chardon High School in northeast Ohio and the December shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Officials say the FBI and U.S. Secret Service have gotten involved in a bomb-threat investigation at Cuyahoga Falls, which was closed Monday as a precaution. There was a similar threat there in March.
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