Lawmakers, organizations react to shooting at Perry High School

Concealed Carry

PERRY, Iowa (KCAU) — Authorities are still investigating the shooting that happened Thursday morning at Perry High School that injured multiple people.

Dallas County Sheriff Adam Infante said law enforcement was notified about an active shooter at the school at 7:37 a.m. When emergency responders arrived on the scene, they found multiple gunshot victims.

A representative for UnityPoint Health in Des Moines spoke with sister station WHO and confirmed the hospital is treating two victims with gunshot wounds at Methodist Medical Center.

The suspect in the shooting has died of what investigators believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the investigation and spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity.

A joint press conference will be held at 3 p.m. in Perry to provide an update on the active shooter event.

Now, Iowa lawmakers and groups have released statements reacting to the incident.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

Our hearts are broken by this senseless tragedy. Our prayers are with the students, teachers and families of the Perry Community.

I have been in contact with law enforcement agencies and am continuing to monitor the situation. I will be joining their press conference today.

Iowa Gov. Reynolds on Facebook

Police respond to Perry High School in Perry, Iowa., Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. Police say there has been a shooting at the city’s high school.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Sen. Jesse Green of Iowa Senate District 24, representing Perry

As we pray for Perry my thoughts are about peace.
Neither this world or politics can provide true peace. The Lord is the only giver of peace. My hope is this tragedy turns us back to Him.
God Bless Perry

Sen. Jesse Green on Facebook

Rep. Carter F. Nordman of Iowa House District 47, representing Perry

Devastated by news this morning of the shooting at Perry High School. We are still learning all the details, but my heart goes out to the Perry community and all affected by this senseless act of violence. My thoughts and prayers are with the students, faculty, and families impacted this morning. I am incredibly thankful for the first responders on the scene bravely handling the situation.

Rep. Carter Nordman on X (formerly Twitter)

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird

I’m devastated by the senseless and horrific shooting at Perry High School this morning. As a mother, my heart aches for the families of all students and staff impacted.

We thank the officers who acted swiftly and courageously to restore safety. And we will continue to work with law enforcement and first responders to offer our support and assistance. Our prayers go out to the students, the teachers, their families, and the entire Perry community.

Iowa AG Brenna Bird in a statement

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Todays appalling violence at Perry HS is heartbreaking Barbara + I are grateful for quick response by school officials &law enforcement to protect students +restore safety. The Perry community is strong& will band 2gether thru hard time Im here 2help if addtl fed resources needed

Sen. Chuck Grassley on X (formerly Twitter)

Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa

My team is in touch with officials in Dallas County about the heartbreaking situation at Perry High School. Join us in praying for the safety and recovery of those involved. Thank you to law enforcement for the swift response.

Sen. Joni Ernst on X (formerly Twitter)

Rep. Zach Nunn of Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District

After today’s tragic attack at Perry High School, I’ve remained in close contact with first-responders who have indicated to me that the school is now secure.
As a parent and community member, I’m beyond angry. My heart, and my commitment to holding those accountable, is with the community of Perry. We have a duty to protect our children, families, and educators.
I remain in touch with first responders and local leaders in Perry, and I will continue to monitor the situation closely. We will not rest until there is full accountability for this heinous act of violence.

Rep. Zach Nunn on Facebook

Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa’s 1st Congressional District

I am sending my prayers to the Perry community, especially to the families, classmates, and friends of the victims. This is a horrific and senseless tragedy. No parent should have to get that phone call and no child or teacher should be afraid to go to school. My team and I will continue monitoring as more information becomes available.

Rep. Ashley Hinson on Facebook

Iowa Democrats

I am so sad and so sorry that the Perry community is living this nightmare that has happened far too often across our country.

Our schools have always been places of hope and support, where students go to learn new skills and gain the experiences that lead them to future success. Our students should be able to focus on creating brighter futures for themselves while they are in their classrooms, not looking for escape routes, hiding places, or fearing for their safety.

The Perry community deserves better. Iowa deserves better.

Iowa Democrats on X (formerly Twitter)

Iowa GOP

Pray for the entire Perry community today.

Iowa GOP on Facebook

Iowa Firearms Coalition

The Iowa Firearms Coalition (IFC) strongly condemns Thursday morning’s attack at Perry High School.

“Our prayers are with the Perry community following this morning’s act of evil. Iowa must, finally, harden soft-targets and empower school staff who love their children enough to protect them to do so. Signs don’t stop evil, good people do,” said IFC President, Dave Funk.

IFC has offered free active-shooter training to Iowa educators and school staff, most recently at the IFC Educators Academy this past August in Johnston. The intensive three-day training program provided participants with the essential skills and knowledge needed to effectively respond to active shooter threats in schools.

IFC has also worked with school districts in the state to increase their security and allow for trained staff to exercise their constitutional rights on school grounds.

IFC continues to lobby Iowa lawmakers to ban “gun free zone” signs that are endangering the lives of students and emboldening criminals to commit acts of evil. Additionally, IFC has included in this effort the need to end Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) policies that are preventing schools from taking the necessary and scientifically proven steps needed to protect students and staff during a crisis.

“The time for Iowa lawmakers to act is now,” said Funk. “These tragedies can be prevented, and the solution is not to make the vulnerable defenseless.”

The Iowa Firearms Coalition, Iowa’s official NRA State Association, is a 501(c4) nonprofit and is Iowa’s only effective pro-Second Amendment rights organization.

Iowa Firearms Coalition in a statement

Iowa Chapters of Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action

Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots network, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements in response to a shooting at Perry High School in Perry Iowa. While details are still unfolding, law enforcement has announced multiple gunshot victims. Today is the first day of the second semester for the school district and students’ first day back at school in the new year following the winter break.

“This is America. Students can’t even make it one day back to school after winter break without gun violence wreaking havoc in our lives,” said Brittany Kaufmann, a gun violence survivor and volunteer with Iowa Students Demand Action. “Thoughts and prayers are meaningless without the action of our leaders to do their jobs and protect our right to live. Schools everywhere should be a sanctuary for us, not a place where we have to wonder whether or not we’ll be shot. Enough is enough.”

“What should have been a day focused on sharing stories about the holidays and wishing friends and teachers a happy new year was instead spent hiding from blood shed,” said Hope Johnson, a volunteer with the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action. “It’s frustrating that we even have to say this, but students should feel safe going to class and not worry about whether we might get shot. To our lawmakers, we ask, once again, how many more of us have to die before you take action to put an end to this crisis?”

Guns are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in Iowa and an average of 29 children and teens die by guns every year in the state. Firearms are the leading cause of death for children, teens, and college-aged people (ages 1 to 25) in the United States. Every year, nearly 19,000 children and teens are shot and killed or wounded and approximately three million are exposed to gun violence. Children and teens in the U.S. are impacted by gun violence in all its forms.

Exposure to gun violence has an impact on the psychological and mental well-being of children and teens and affects their school performance, among other negative impacts. People are also traumatized when a friend or family member is killed with a gun, when someone they know is shot, and when they witness and hear gunshots.

Iowa has weak gun laws and extremist lawmakers have spent the last decade rolling back the few gun safety measures they once had, including the state legislature’s recent votes to eliminate both its permit-to-purchase and concealed carry permitting requirements in 2021. Just four years earlier, Iowa enacted a Shoot First law. Iowa also sees disparate racial impacts of gun violence that exceed the national average: Black people in the state are significantly more likely to die by gun violence than white people.

Iowa lawmakers return for the 2024 legislative session four days from now, on January 8th — they will be conveying as families continue to deal with the aftermath of this shooting. Lawmakers should prioritize measures that will keep guns out of Iowa classrooms and make Iowans safer, over gun lobby priorities like reintroducing a law to require children enrolled in firearm safety training programs in public schools to go through the National Rifle Association’s “Eddie Eagle” program. The program was deemed ineffective by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

More information about gun violence in Iowa is available here.

Iowa Chapters of Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action in a statement

Sioux County Sheriff

I hope you’ll join me in prayer for the Perry, Iowa School District and Perry community following the active shooter situation at Perry High School. Also prayers for all of our fellow law enforcement, first responders and those who stand waiting for them to come home.

Sioux County Sheriff on X (formerly Twitter)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. KCAU 9 will update as we learn more.

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