CHICAGO (CBSMiami) – An Illinois teacher put herself in harm’s way to stop an alleged student gunman who opened fire inside a school cafeteria.
More than 100 police officers raced toward the chaos at Mattoon High School just after 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Students and faculty running for safety reported a shooter in the school’s cafeteria.
“It was one of the scariest things that could happen,” said Braeton Davis.
Davis was one of the students in the cafeteria when the student opened fire. His knuckles were grazed by a bullet.
“That’s when I looked left, and I saw the person holding the gun, and then they fired three to five more shots,” Davis said.
A second student was struck by as many as two gunshots but survived.
Mattoon Police Chief Jeff Branson credits a teacher, now identified as Angela McQueen, with tackling the shooter.
“She’s been trained obviously, but in these scenarios, you just don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens,” Chief Branson said. “And with the quick response of the teacher, if that teacher had not responded as quickly as they had, I think the situation would’ve been a lot different.”
Alexis Perry saw the confrontation unfold.
“She seen the gun come out and she was going to tackle him, and which she did, and he still had his finger on the trigger and it was flying up and hitting the ceiling,” Perry said.
Even after overwhelming the shooter, Anna Morton watched as McQueen continued checking on others.
“She was walking around and making sure everything was OK. And I went up and gave her a hug and thanked her because she could have… that could have been a lot worse and she made it to where it wasn’t,” Morton said.
Police say a school resource officer also helped disarm the shooter.
The teen who was hospitalized returned home Wednesday.
This is the fifth shooting to reportedly strike a central Illinois high school in just the past four weeks.