'Upset student' opens fire in class

'Upset student' opens fire in class

Students ran from the classroom building while others barricaded themselves inside, piling desks in front of doors. This time, though, no one was hurt.

Police said Jason Michael Hamilton, 20, opened fire in a classroom on Tuesday with a high-powered rifle, but did not hit anyone and surrendered peacefully in a hallway. He was later charged with attempted murder and discharging a firearm in a school zone and was being held without bond.

A neighbour described Hamilton as a loner who lived in his family’s basement in an affluent new subdivision near the school in Woodbridge. Whether Hamilton had hired an attorney was not immediately clear; neither was a motive for the shooting.
Prince William County Police spokeswoman Kim Chinn said the unidentified teacher ducked when the student opened fire.

In a classroom nearby, biology professor Miriam Clair said she heard a loud noise. “It sounded like a desk fell over and we heard another loud pop, we knew it was a gunshot,” said Clair, of McLean, Virginia.

When Clair looked out the window, she saw students fleeing. The professor told her students to get inside the classroom and they piled about 20 desks against a door that didn’t have a lock. About two and half hours hours later, a SWAT team came and told them it was safe.

“We were very frightened,” said Clair. Police spokeswoman Sharon Richardson said officers responded at about 2:40 pm to an “active shooter” following reports of a gunman in the main administration building.

The college enacted its emergency lockdown and later issued a statement saying all Woodbridge classes were cancelled. Some students, faculty and staff were sent to a nearby high school.

One of the suspect’s neighbours said Hamilton’s parents moved to the subdivision about three years ago and he sometimes saw the suspect jogging alone, or with his mother. “He’s always by himself, he’s always isolated,” said Daren Edwards.