Wisconsin Boy Who Took Students Hostage Dies
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Samuel Hengel died Tuesday morning at a Green Bay hospital of self-inflicted gunshot wound.
MARINETTE, Wis. (CBS) — Authorities say a 15-year-old boy who held 23 students and a teacher hostage in a Wisconsin classroom has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Marinette Police Chief Jeff Skorik says sophomore Samuel Hengel died at 10:44 a.m. Tuesday. Skorik says Hengel, of Porterfield, shot himself as police stormed a classroom at Marinette High School Monday night.
The 24 hostages who were held for several hours Monday afternoon were not injured.
Students at the school at 2135 Pierce Ave. in Marinette, were relieved, but shaken, Tuesday morning.
“I’m just scared to go back to school, because you never know what can happen,” said student Brendon Wuhrman. “It could happen again.”
Just before classes let out on Monday, police say Hengel pulled out a gun in class and fired two shots, striking a film projector. He was also armed with another gun and a knife.
“At first we did not know what was going on, but then he pulled out his gun and shot the projector,” said Jeffrey Campbell, one of the students in the classroom.
Terrified students did their best to keep the 15-year-old gunman calm, spending hours talking to him about hunting and fishing, said student Zach Campbell – one of five hostages who were released after convincing the teen they had to use the bathroom.
“We just wanted to be on his good side,” Zach Campbell said. He said the gunman seemed depressed. “But he didn’t really seem like he wanted to hurt anybody.”
Officers who had positioned themselves outside the classroom said they heard three gunshots shortly after 8 p.m. and busted through the door, Police Chief Jeff Skorik said. Hengel, who was standing at the front of the classroom, shot himself as officers approached, the chief said.
“He was not willing to speak with law enforcement, but we were able to speak with the teacher and learn there were no injuries inside the room,” Skorik said.
The motive remains a mystery, Skorik said.
“As far as we have gathered to this point, nothing specific identified by the hostage taker, as far as reasoning behind holding those children in the classroom with a firearm,” Skorik said.
Outside the classroom, choral teacher Bonita Weydt said she was talking with a teacher in another room at the end of the day when principal Corry Lambie came in.
“I said, `Corry, what’s going on?’ and he said, `Get out of the building,’” Weydt said.
Cartridge casings from both a .22 caliber semiautomatic weapon and a 9 mm semiautomatic were found at the scene.
The teen had made his classmates put their cell phones in the middle of the room and broke his own phone when it rang, Campbell said.
After the standoff ended, anxious parents met throughout the evening with officials at the county courthouse, where they were later reunited with their students amid hugs and tears of relief. Many declined to comment as they ushered their children to waiting vehicles.
Some expressed shock at the boy’s actions. Keith Schroeder, a former Marinette middle school teacher, said he had Hengel as a student. He said the teen’s family is extremely involved in all their boys’ lives.
“He’s a fine young man, and I’m totally taken aback,” Schroeder told The Associated Press. “Surprised, flabbergasted to say the least because this is a great family. It doesn’t fit any of the things or the molds that you read about people. I couldn’t say enough good things about the family.”
WFRV-TV’s Tammy Elliott and CBS News Correspondent Dean Reynolds contributed to this report.
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