All Eden Prairie students attending school at the site of a fatal shooting today at the District 287 South Education Center in Richfield are safe, according to a district spokesperson.
“The EP students who attended a program at District 287 have been accounted for,” Eden Prairie School’s Brett Johnson, the district’s senior director of communications and community, told EPLN in an email. “They were either reunited with their families in Richfield or transported home.”
One student was killed and another severely wounded, according to media reports.
Eden Prairie Schools’ buses that were at the school as part of their regular routes ended up assisting police and District 287 staff, Johnson said.
“Eden Prairie Schools’ buses were there as part of the regular duty of transporting students home from their programs in District 287,” he said. “The process to reunite families and students had not begun when the buses arrived. So, the drivers went to the South Education Center and began working with police and District 287 staff to move students from SEC to the reunification location.”
Thirty-one Eden Prairie students attend programs at the South Education Center, Johnson said.
The Star Tribune reported that the shooting occurred just after noon on the sidewalk in front of the center. The alternative school serves about 200 special education students from Pre-K to age 21.
According to the Star Tribune report, Richfield police arrived at the scene in the 7400 block of Penn Ave. S. to discover two wounded individuals on the sidewalk. The suspects had fled the scene.
According to the Star Tribune, two students were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance. One of them died there, according to Richfield Police Chief Jay Henthorne.
CNN reported that FBI Minneapolis special agents also responded to the shooting reports. Special agents from the ATF’s St. Paul field division also responded, the agency said on Twitter, according to a CNN report.
“We strongly encourage anyone with information regarding this incident to call the tip line at 1-888-ATF-TIPS,” Henthorne said, according to CNN. “Our hearts are with the families, students, and the community impacted by this horrendous and tragic event.”
Carol Bomben, who served four terms on the Eden Prairie School Board and represented the district on the District 287 Board of Directors, told EPLN that she spoke with a teacher in the school during the lockdown following the shooting.
“No words can capture the anguish of circumstances like this,” Bomben said. (Bomben also is a member of the EPLN Board of Directors.)
District 287 reaction
“I report with a heavy heart that (today) there were shots fired outside at South Education Center near the front entrance,” District 287 Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski said in a statement posted on the school’s website.
“Our staff members and police responded immediately to the situation and followed our security procedures,” she said.
“We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victims,” Lewandowski continued. “We are deeply saddened by this incident and will work to support the family, classmates and staff as much as we can.”
Lewandowski said the building was evacuated, and parents were notified of a reunification site.
“There are no words to describe the bravery exhibited by our staff at SEC and local authorities today,” she said. “No one should ever have to respond to a tragedy like this and we commit to supporting staff, students, and family well-being as they recover from this incident.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated on Feb. 2 to reflect the number of Eden Prairie students who attend programs at the South Education Center.
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