RIGBY — It is an “absolute blessing” that two students and a custodian were not more seriously injured or killed after being shot Thursday morning at Rigby Middle School.
Dr. Michael Lemon, the trauma medical director at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, said during a news conference at the Jefferson School District Office that three victims sustained non-life-threatening injuries and should recover.
The school employee was shot one time in what Lemon described as a “through and through extremity” injury. He was treated and released by Thursday afternoon. One student was shot once in an extremity and may require surgery, according to Lemon. The other student was potentially shot twice, and two limbs were hit.
“The fact the injuries are as insignificant as they are – they could be so much worse, so we feel absolutely blessed,” Lemon said.
The shooter was a sixth-grade girl from Idaho Falls who attends the school, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson. The incident began around 9:10 a.m. – less than an hour after classes began.
“She retrieved a handgun from her backpack and fired multiple rounds inside of the school and out,” Anderson said. “During the shooting, a teacher disarmed the student and detained her until law enforcement took her into custody. We don’t have a lot of details right now and are following all leads.”
The teacher has been identified by multiple parents and students as Krista Gneiting. The custodian who was shot is Jim Wilson, a long-time employee whom EastIdahoNews.com surprised with hearing aids from an anonymous Secret Santa in 2019.
The school went into lockdown mode until the situation was safe, and all students were moved to Rigby High School, which sits adjacent to the middle school. Parents then picked up their children as detectives swarmed the area.
“This is the worst nightmare any school district can ever face. We prepare for it and we are truly never ready for it,” said Jefferson County School District Superintendent Chad Martin. “Our hearts and our prayers go out to the victims and their families and all those involved.”
Little is known about the shooter and her motive. EastIdahoNews.com received dozens of messages stating she posted a threatening video on social media days before the shooting. Anderson declined to comment on the post but confirmed detectives are aware of it.
Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Taylor said the shooter could be charged with three counts of attempted murder, and his office will make the decision once law enforcement has concluded its investigation.
Idaho State Police, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Falls Police Department, Rigby Police Department, Rexburg Police Department and Madison County Sheriff’s Office all responded to the school. Additionally, a regional bomb squad spent a significant part of the day in an Idaho Falls neighborhood in relation to this shooting, according to Idaho Falls Police spokeswoman Jessica Clements. It’s unclear what the bomb squad was doing in the area.
All Jefferson County schools are canceled Friday, and counselors will be available at Rigby High School beginning at 8 a.m. for anyone who would like to meet with them.
“We feel overwhelmed by the support we have received today,” Martin said. “It is overwhelming, and we are grateful to live in a community that cares about our students and our schools.”