A teenager carrying a shotgun and a paper bag full of shells Wednesday allegedly chased fellow teens through high school hallways and killed his principal and a student.
The 16-year-old junior also wounded two other students and exchanged shots with police before he surrendered, said Ken Waugh, a state police spokesman. He said the motive for the shooting was not known.
Principal Ron Edwards died at a nearby hospital. Josh Palacios, a junior at Bethel Regional High School, died after surgery at a hospital in Anchorage, about 400 miles to the east, television state KTUU reported.
The other students, hit by shotgun pellets in the arm and shoulder, were less seriously hurt, witnesses said.
Police would not release the arrested teenager’s name because he’s a juvenile, but numerous witnesses in the town of 4,700 identified him as Evan Ramsey, foster son of the school superintendent and son of a locally notorious ex-convict.
Fellow students described Ramsey as a sullen, lonely teenager.
Witnesses said Ramsey entered the lobby with the shotgun in his right hand and the shells in his left and shot Palacios from about 15 feet away, then fired a shot into the ceiling.
Ramsey then wandered the hallways, shooting sporadically as teachers tried to talk him into dropping the shotgun, said Erick Hodgins, a senior who was hiding behind a planter in the lobby.
“I really wanted to help him because he’d been shot, but the guy with the shotgun was still out there,” Hodgins said of Palacios.
The school’s 435 students were sent home and counselors were brought to the town’s Yup’ik Museum and Cultural Center, where about 50 students discussed the shooting in hushed tones. A prayer service was scheduled.
Hodgins and other students said Ramsey may have sought out Palacios and Edwards. Palacios was a gregarious, popular teen who sometimes teased Ramsey; Edwards was a stern but kind principal who frequently gave Ramsey detention, said Rayna Blakesley, 15, who also witnessed the shootings.
Ramsey’s father, Donald Ramsey, was released Jan. 13 after serving a decade in prison for assaulting the publisher of the Anchorage Times in 1986. Armed with a rifle and a revolver, he chained the newspaper’s doors behind him, tossed smoke bombs and fired several shots into the ceiling before he was tackled by publisher Bob Atwood, then 79.