At least 34 students were inside Walnut Park Elementary School when the man tried to get inside, Gadsden Municipal School Superintendent Tony Reddick told CNN.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) is investigating the incident.
In a news release, ALEA said the individual was seen trying to break into a patrol vehicle marked Rainbow City near the school. A resource officer contacted the individual and attempted to arrest him, the statement said.
An altercation ensued during which the individual attempted to take the police officer’s firearm. The officer was able to call for reinforcements and a responding officer shot the individual who was pronounced dead at the scene, the statement said.
No children from the school were injured in the incident, Horton said.
Although the school year is over, during the summer the school holds a literacy camp for elementary students, Reddick said.
The district has always had the practice of locking all exterior and interior doors, Reddick said. Something he touted to help keep the potential intruder out.
“He tried to open at least two doors leading to the school,” Reddick said.
“It’s Gadsden. A small community. You don’t think something like this is going to happen at your school,” he added.
Praising the work of the school resource officer, Horton also highlighted the work done by the district in light of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
“Our schools, especially after … what happened in Texas, we have one of the largest school resource officer programs in Etowah County, preaching that those doors stay locked. couldn’t get inside the school,” he said. said.
“From the perspective of the school resource officer, he did exactly what needed to be done. He went straight to the threat, he confronted it and he dealt with it. It unfortunately ended in death. of the suspect, but it is the safest alternative. . To keep this threat out of this school,” he added.
The school resource officer was taken to hospital for treatment for minor injuries he sustained in the altercation, Horton said.
It is not known if the suspect was armed.