DIXON, Illinois — An Illinois school resource officer is being praised as a hero for intervening when a former student opened fire Wednesday morning at Dixon High School.
US Vice President Mike Pence lauded the “heroic actions” of Dixon Police Officer Mark Dallas, who shot and wounded the gunman.
“Another example of the brave work performed by law enforcement each and every day. Lives were saved thanks to the heroic actions of school resource officer Mark Dallas,” Pence said on Twitter.
Another example of the brave work performed by law enforcement each and every day. Lives were saved thanks to the heroic actions of school resource officer Mark Dallas. #PoliceWeek https://t.co/RNPuJTX6sF
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 17, 2018
The 19-year-old former student opened fire near the school gym before the officer confronted him, Dixon Police Chief Steven Howell said in a news conference.
The suspect fled the school and Dallas pursued him. The suspect continued to shoot at the officer and the officer returned fire, Howell said. The suspect sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital.
The officer is on paid administrate leave. No one else was injured.
“With shots ringing out in the hallways of the school, he charged towards the suspect and confronted him, head-on. Because of his heroic actions, countless lives were saved,” Howell said.
Dixon High School and all Dixon public schools went into lockdown during the incident.
“A tragedy was averted today in Dixon because a police officer put his life on the line to protect his fellow citizens,” said Shawn Roselieb, executive director of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council.
“The officer’s actions at the high school will be closely scrutinized, but the simple fact is, nobody but the gunman was hurt today, and keeping students and teachers safe is the primary job for school resource officers.”