Police search for motive in school shooting

Police search for motive in school shooting

Authorities have no idea why a 14-year-old boy fatally shot his school principal in the chest with one gun and then shot himself in the head with another Thursday morning in a school cafeteria packed with students.

"Anybody that does that has issues," Red Lion Borough Police Chief Walt Hughes said at an afternoon news conference. "We're looking into that to try to find out what that was."

Hughes said that according to information authorities have gathered so far, there's no reason to believe anyone else was involved in the shootings.

"We have no information that anything led up to this or that he spoke to someone else about it," the chief said, adding that police are reviewing video from school surveillance cameras to try to learn more about what happened.

"I heard this loud bang. I looked up and the principal was lying on the ground, hands to his chest," said one young witness. "Everybody ran out, and when I was running I heard another gunshot."

Red Lion Area Junior High Principal Eugene Segro was pronounced dead at York Hospital, and the student died at the school, about 35 miles southeast of Harrisburg.

The principal was in the cafeteria, where students go before classes begin, Hughes said. "To our knowledge there was nothing going on when the incident went down," at 7:34 a.m., he said.

No students were injured, and no one else was hurt, he said.

Hughes said the student brought the weapons from his home, where they had been locked in a gun safe. He said he doesn't foresee any criminal charges against the boy's parents relating to the weapons.

The .44-caliber Magnum, .357-caliber Magnum and .22-caliber revolvers were legally registered in the student's stepfather's name, the chief said.

No metal detectors at school

York County Coroner Barry Bloss said the principal and student had only one bullet wound each. The principal was shot in the chest with a .44-caliber handgun, and the student died from gunshot to the head from a .22-caliber handgun, authorities said.

Police were on the scene within minutes of the incident. Students were evacuated immediately. Students from the junior high, a nearby high school and an elementary school were dismissed from school a few hours later. The junior high will be closed Friday.

"The school district is grieving the loss of our beloved junior high school principal, Dr. Segro, and the student involved," said Larry Macaluso, Red Lion Area superintendent. "We will continue to make plans to deal with the rest of our students, the staff and our parents and have them work through this."

Macaluso, asked about security at the school, said there are no metal detectors and students are not searched as they enter the building. "We have not had any security checks of students up until this time," he said.

"Our schools are locked when students are in the building in the morning and anyone entering the building must be identified and then report to the office," he said.

Counseling sessions were made available in the afternoon for junior high students and their parents in the senior high school auditorium. An informational meeting for parents was scheduled for Thursday evening.

"It's a tragedy. We're all sorry for it," Hughes said.

Segro was the school's principal for seven years.

"We're in shock. Total disbelief," Douglas Kilgore, school board vice president, said after the shooting.

Previous violence in school district

Myra Reichart with the Pennsylvania State Education Association -- the union that represents teachers in the school district -- said a crisis response team is being formed and will be sent to Red Lion. "We're always concerned when these kinds of things happen," she said.

The Red Lion school district was the site of a machete attack on a kindergarten class that wounded 11 children, the principal, and two teachers at Winterstown Elementary School in February 2001.

William Michael Stankewicz pleaded guilty to attempted murder and other charges. He said he was upset about his divorce and allegations that he molested his stepdaughters. Evidence showed he had had long-term mental problems. His ex-wife's children from a previous marriage had attended the school years before, local police said.