Armed School Resource Officers May Have Prevented a Mass Shooting at Oregon High School

Two school resource officers are being hailed as heroes after they likely prevented further carnage during Tuesday’s shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon.

Officers Nick Thompson and Kyle Harris were at the school when the shooting occurred and responded to the very first dispatches to police at 8:07 a.m. Tuesday. The report indicated that two shots had been fired in the boy’s locker room and one person was down.

A sheriff’s deputy speaks on his radio after a shooting at Reynolds High School, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in Troutdale, Ore. A gunman killed a student at the high school east of Portland Tuesday and the shooter is also dead, police said. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Faith Cathcart)

After fatally shooting a student, the shooter apparently made his way to one of the school bathrooms. He was later found dead in one of the bathroom stalls. It was not clear how the shooter identified as 15-year-old freshman freshman Jared Padgett, was killed. At least one officer reportedly fired shots.

“As soon as this happened, they were there in less than a minute,” Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton said. “Had they not been there, it could have been a lot worse.”

Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson said the officer’s quick response likely “saved many of our students’ lives.” He also said two other local officers responded quickly to the scene.

“Staton and Troutdale Mayor Doug Daoust said local police agencies — including sheriff’s deputies and Troutdale police — had done a training with Reynolds High School faculty and staff on active shooter incidents a few months ago,” Oregon Live reports.

Purdue University professor Eric Dietz, Ph.D., the former director of Homeland Security for the state of Indiana and 22-year Army veteran, recently unveiled the results of research on active shooter situations. The research found that the presence of a school resource officer can drastically reduce casualties during an active shooter situation because response time is reduced significantly.

In scenarios where 10 percent of trained teachers were carrying concealed firearms and a school resource officer was present, casualties fell by an astonishing 70.2 percent and response time was reducted by 62.7 percent, the research shows.

Since the 1950s, all but two mass shootings have occurred in locations where victims were restricted from carrying weapons for self-defense, Dietz’s work says.

Read more about Dietz’s research here.