It Can’t Happen Here, Until It Does, Mt. Horeb: Update – Blogging Blue

The story itself continues to twist and turn and convolute…and there are still facts that don’t add up or make a believable story, but I have to cut the police a bit of slack. Here is the most recent published article about the incident in the May 7, 2024 issue of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Oddly this article is behind a firewall and I will share excerpts below my comments. The first, second, third, etc match the original post so my comments stay in their relevant position.

First, the fourteen year old student has been officially identified as Mount Horeb Middle School Student, Damien Haglund. This was published in the article linked above and quoted below. Apparently, my guess, Haglund didn’t arrive at the start of school and was prevented from entering by a number of security measures that the Mount Horeb school district had installed at the school.

Second, Haglund is still being identified as a shooter but even this new story does not state the he ever fired his weapon.

Third, here I am going to cut the police a bit of slack. I still question the use of immediate deadly force instead of a taser or other less than lethal means…but I can understand why they were concerned about the weapon that Haglund had in his possession and that he aimed at police. It was described as a pellet gun initially and it is…but when the actual brand and type was identified…a Google search will provide this information and this photo: Anyone would be hard pressed to identify this as less than a fire arm at any time, much less than when under duress.

Fourth, this is still being identified as a school shooting and I still say that it is not.

Fifth, and this one is still scary and has gotten more confusing with new news reports. My original: “Students, teachers, and administrators inside the school didn’t take defensive action until they heard shots fired outside.” The newest reports now say that Haglund attempted to enter the school cafeteria by breaking the window glass with the butt of his gun and students fled. This contradicts many of the earlier reports and there are still no reports of additional calls to 911 other than an initial third party call about a person outside the school with a long rifle. No one in the school alerted law enforcement? No one in the cafeteria alerted school administrators or the rest of the school? I hope that this is shoddy news reporting and not poor response by school personnel.

We still need to do better.

Here’s pertinent excerpts from the firewalled story linked above:

It was shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday when roughly 200 eighth-grade students and staff filed into the cafeteria at Mount Horeb Middle School.

Within 15 minutes, sandwiches were left half-eaten and trays of food remained untouched.

The panic hit the cafeteria quickly. Eighth-grader Henry Loger, 14, stopped eating when he heard a friend saying, “What is Damian doing? He has a gun.” When Loger looked up, he saw his classmate, Damian Haglund, approaching the cafeteria’s front window.

Loger said when Haglund reached the window, he started “slamming the butt of a rifle against the glass.” The glass didn’t break.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice said in a statement Saturday that Haglund had brought a Ruger .177 caliber pellet rifle to the school. It is unclear how much time passed between Haglund hitting the rifle against the window and the arrival of officers with the Mount Horeb police department.

At approximately 11:11 a.m., a citizen called 911 after witnessing a subject moving toward Mount Horeb Middle School with a backpack and what appeared to be a long gun. Mount Horeb Police Department officers responded to the school where they located a subject who matched the description in the area of the middle school, east of the main entrance at 900 Garfield Street.

When officers arrived, Haglund pointed the pellet rifle at them and did not comply with the officers’ commands to drop the weapon. Officers shot and killed him, according to the DOJ. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, per agency policy. The number of officers involved and whether Haglund first fired shots at the officers is information that has yet to be released.

At a press conference Wednesday, Superintendent Steve Salerno said lives may have been saved thanks to safety features at the middle school.

Voters approved referendums in 2017 and 2022 that he said enabled the district to install vestibules, security cameras, locked doors and a doorbell camera system. He declined to comment on how many of the school windows are shatterproof or bulletproof. However, Loger said the glass remained intact when Haglund repeatedly slammed it with the butt of the pellet rifle.   

“Had it not been for our community stepping up to the plate to help support capital and operational referendums … this could have been a far worse tragedy,” Salerno said Wednesday.

P. S. My paid subscription to MJS and JSOnline is up to date.

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