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Francis Howell High teacher shot near campus; person of interest in custody

By: Ellen Lampe

A suspect is still at large after a teacher at Francis Howell High was shot near the school’s campus Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 29.

A person of interest was taken into custody Thursday for questioning, but he has not been named as a suspect. Police said he is cooperating with investigators.

The school reported that the 36-year-old teacher, whose name has not been released, was released from the hospital Thursday and is recovering.

The shooting happened around 2:45 p.m. as the teacher was running on the Hamburg Trail, a section of the Katy Trail near the school which he reportedly runs on regularly.

Francis Howell High School had an early release on Wednesday, so school was not in session at the time of the shooting; however, some students were on campus for after-school and extracurricular activities. The school was immediately placed on lockdown and the remaining students were picked up.

The teacher, who was shot in the back, reportedly did not recognize the suspect. The teacher was able to make his way to a nearby road where a good samaritan picked him up and took him to Francis Howell High School.

Matt Deichmann, chief communications officer for the Francis Howell School District, said a coach, who happens to be a trauma nurse, and a trainer saw the teacher get dropped off and they began first aid until emergency responders could arrive. Deichmann said the teacher was conscious and talking when he was taken to the hospital.

On Thursday, Francis Howell High and Francis Howll Union was placed on exterior lockdown, meaning no one was allowed in or out of the school, while SWAT teams searched the grounds for the suspect.

As a precautionary measure, six nearby school buildings were placed on soft lockdown, meaning there was a heightened sense of awareness and no outside activities. Those schools were Bryan, Daniel Boone, Francis Howell Middle School, Independence, John Weldon and Meadows Parkway.

While patrolling the area on Thursday, the Metro Air Support Unit helicopter noticed a tent in the vacinity of where the shooting happened. The SWAT team searched the tent and surrounding grounds. Though there was no one inside the tent, members of the SWAT team discovered a person of interest nearby and took him into custody.

“We’re not certain wether or not this person has any involvement, so we are questioning him,” Val Joyner, public affairs officer with the St. Charles County Police Department, said.

Joyner added that they believe this was a random shooting.

The suspect at large is described as a white male between 30-40 years old, wearing a black coat and tan pants.

Police are asking the public to submit any information to their tip line at (636) 949-3002.

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