Thursday, January 6, 2011


I've mentioned in the past that I am involved in a ministry called First Responders.

Today we met again, and it was one of the most difficult situations ever.

It's a first-time murder incident in our state. A 17-year old young man, a senior, shot the assistant principal, then the principal, and shot at 2 others -- a maintenance man and a nurse he saw down the corridor when he was leaving, not hitting them. He also came very near the security guard who was trying to stay out of the way, aimed the gun directly at the guard, and, amazingly, did not pull the trigger.

The young man committed suicide shortly after leaving the school. The SWAT team had found him, and as they approached his car, he shot himself.

The assistant principal died a few hours later. The reason he shot her? Yesterday morning she suspended him for 19 days because he had vandalized the football field with his car during the vacation. This was the first school day after the Christmas break.

The gun was his dad's -- he is a detective in the Omaha Police Dept. There's no clear understanding of why this young man became so insanely furious that he went back to the school two or three hours after his suspension and signed in to see Dr. Kasper, went into her office, and shot her. When the principal went in to see what was going on, he was shot. He's in serious condition. [Dr. Kasper's son is a science teacher at the school, near the office where she was shot. How heartbreaking is that?]

Memorial moments have been taking place on the campus many times since yesterday. Two large churches also held meetings last night ... the principal is an active member in one of the largest evangelical churches in Omaha.

Our group met at the high school late today to pray. Maybe 50 people from a variety of churches and Christian organizations came. Some students and their parents showed up a bit later and were willing to enter the circle, be prayed over and blessed. It was an amazing moment of ministry.

But, of course, as always occurs, a sad moment.

Another sad bit. When I arrived home, I saw that today there was another murder. This is number 3 since New Years Day... none commonly gang connected, none making any real sense -- the 1sts one was a crazy domestic situation, the man shooting his wife in their car on the entrance ramp to the Interstate. He also shot himself, but hasn't died. The 2nd one was this student situation. The one today was at a gas station, but not usual "convenience store robbery" that is pretty common most places. All of these had different motivations, all located in areas that are usually considered safe. I wonder if any of this is why I felt that "flinty" face on New Years Eve...

So, we will be meeting at that other site tomorrow to pray again. Need to see this change... and that's what the prayers are for.


S. Etole said...

Another one to pray for.

Beth said...

As you can imagine, the school incident rattled us at school. We currently had two boys out for drug incidents. These boys take powerful drugs for several mental issues and many staff and students want them gone for safey reasons. The usual public school system has not helped them and they're a constant threat to others in the system.
I immediately lifted that situation and folks up in prayer. I didn't realize you lived near there---what God does through you is amazing, jo. I will continue to lift you up esp. in regards to this ministry.

Michelle DeRusha said...

The boy who shot the principal was once a member of my church. The funeral was held there -- incredibly sad for all who grieve the losses.

Joanne, I know I've said this before -- but you do incredible work as a first responder! Amazing grace you bring!