LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) – A new video shows the moment a suspect fired a gun across the street from Washington Elementary School, leading to a chase and several school lockdowns Thursday afternoon.
Superintendent Jeff Graham points out that their school resource officer is close by. He said, “(The video) actually starts out with him fist bumping kids and building relationships, which is what we hope for out of our SROs.”
It started just after 2:30 p.m. when the school resource officer heard two gunshots across the street during dismissal. Investigators say the suspect then fired several more shots at a nearby vehicle.
As seen in the video released by the Lorain Police Department, the resource officer chases after the suspect as students and staff run back into the school.
“He was gone. He took off towards the gunfire to make sure our kids were safe,” Graham said.
The elementary school, as well as other schools in the area, were placed on lockdown, police say.
Investigators searched the area with K-9 units and police drones, leading them to a home in the 1000 block of W. 22nd Street.
The Lorain Police SWAT Team executed a search warrant at the home and found the suspect inside, police say.
The suspect, 20-year-old Jamel Geiger, was arrested. He’s charged with felonious assault, inducing panic, obstructing official business, resisting arrest and discharging a firearm in a school zone.
The students were dismissed safely around 5 p.m.
“I’ve got 6,000 kids in this school district. It was terrifying. Our students and staff saw things they shouldn’t have to witness,” Graham said.
Investigators say no one was hurt and there were no direct threats to the school.
In a statement on Facebook, the Lorain City School District said the situation was traumatic for students and staff alike. District officials said there will be counselors available on Friday.
“I do want to applaud our staff, students, and safety team for executing our lockdown procedures with precision. And, as always, a huge shoutout to the Lorain Police Department for all that they do to keep our families safe. Chief McCann was on site for the entire event, and LPD had over a dozen police cars there in a matter of minutes,” the district said in a statement. “In short, we experienced an absolutely awful situation. But everyone did what they were trained to do. As a result, no one was hurt. As a district, we know how to respond to traumatic situations. We’ll be ready to support you and your loved ones tomorrow.”
“I would like to commend Officer Gerace for running toward the gunfire at great personal risk, and to the members of the Lorain Police Department for their quick and decisive response to this situation that ended with the arrest of the suspect,” said Police Chief Jim McCann in a media release.