CHICAGO: A shooting that happened at a high school in Perry Town, US state of Iowa, on Thursday killed a sixth-grade student and injured five others, while the shooter, a 17-year-old student, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to law enforcement officials.
This Midwestern state, with a population of three million, is where the Republican nominating contests kick off next week for the US presidential election. While it has led to prayers from aspiring candidates within the party, the top contenders have not put forth any significant policy proposals in response, reported Xinhua.
Dallas County Sheriff Adam Infante said earlier at a news conference that local authorities were called to Perry High School at 7.37 am local time (1337 GMT) Thursday on the report of a shooting, and there was no further danger to the public.
The five injured, including four students and an administrator, are in Des Moines hospitals for treatment, local media reported.
In response to the shooting, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called on Congress to pass legislation to combat gun violence.
The president is tracking the shooting, and senior White House staff has been in touch with the Iowa governor’s office, she added.
Florida Gov Ron DeSantis, who is currently engaged in a tight competition for the second position in Iowa against former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, said in an interview with the Des Moines Register newspaper that authorities have a “responsibility to create safe environments” at school, but the federal government “is probably not going to be leading that effort”.
The responses from the candidates emphasised the strong value placed on gun ownership rights by Republican caucus-goers in conservative Iowa, as protected by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.
A majority of candidates vehemently oppose any attempts to regulate firearms and dismiss proposals for such regulations after mass shootings, viewing them as efforts to politicise tragic events.
Haley expressed her condolences on social platform X.
“No parent, student, or teacher should have to wake up and face news about a school shooting,“ she said. “My heart aches for the victims of Perry, Iowa and the entire community.”
Former President Donald Trump did not issue any public statements regarding the incident.
Thursday was the first day back to school for Perry students after the winter break, and the shooting happened before the school day began, local media reported. Several nearby school districts have taken security precautions after the shooting. –Bernama