Teacher Brady Olson’s quick action might have spared the student’s life in Monday’s incident at a high school in Lacey, Thurston County. A school police officer said he was close to taking a shot at the boy with the pistol.
A teacher who grabbed and held down a student who fired two gunshots at his school says his first thought was getting the gun away, and his second thought was for the shooter’s well-being.
“I had a conversation with him while I was lying on top of him. I told him we were going to get him some help,” Brady Olson, government and civics teacher at North Thurston High School, told a news conference Tuesday.
Olson’s quick action might also have spared the student’s life as a school police officer said he was close to taking a shot at him.
Bail was set at $500,000 for the 16-year-old being held in Thurston County in connection with Monday’s shooting at the Lacey high school.
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Juvenile Court Commissioner Lynn Hayes found probable cause for five proposed charges of theft of a firearm, felony harassment, possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful discharge of a firearm, The Olympian newspaper reported. She authorized a 72-hour hold, during which the boy will undergo a mental-health evaluation.
The boy stole a .357 Magnum pistol from his father and brought it to school in a duffel bag, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Graham said. The gun was loaded with hollow-point bullets.
The boy, a recent transfer to the school from Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines, reportedly told detectives that he didn’t intend to hurt other students.
At the news conference, Olson said he had never seen the student before he heard a gun fired Monday morning and looked up to see the armed student walking down stairs into the area where students gather before class.
Olson and several other school staff, including the principal, raced toward the student after seeing the gun.
“I saw kids fleeing. It kind of fired me up to do something, and I did it,” he said. “Rather than tackle him, I kind of enveloped him.”
The school-resource officer, Lacey police Officer Ed McClanahan, told KCPQ-TV that Olson grabbed the student just before he figured he would have had a clear shot.
The officer had initially decided not to shoot because other students were in the line of fire.
McClanahan said he was one step away from having a clear shot when Olson intervened.
Olson “not only tackled him, but grabbed onto his right arm and he held it out — it was pretty impressive,” McClanahan said. That allowed the officer to grab the gun. Then the teen turned to the officer with a question.
“He asked why I didn’t shoot him,” McClanahan said.
“I told him life is full of second chances, hopefully (you) get that help that you need and life becomes better for you in the future,” the officer said.
Olson said he got there first because his legs were longer, but he maintains any of his colleagues would have done the exact same thing.