Student dead, officer injured after gunfire erupts at high school in Knoxville, Tennessee

One student was killed and a police officer was injured Monday in a shooting at a high school in Tennessee, authorities said.

Gunfire erupted after officers in Knoxville responded to a report of an armed person at Austin-East Magnet High School on Monday afternoon, Knoxville police said in a statement.

Two responding officers found the person, later identified as a student, inside a school bathroom, said David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

“He reportedly fired shots, striking an officer,” Rausch told reporters. “One officer returned fire.”

The officer was struck at least once in the leg and remained in serious condition at a local hospital, Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas said.

Neither the officer nor the student was identified. It wasn’t clear if the student was planning to use the gun inside the school, Rausch said, adding that he hadn’t fired it until officers “engaged” him.

Rausch said a second person who local authorities said they detained for further investigation was likely a witness.

Earlier, Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas, who called the incident “tragic” said that the school had been secured and that students who weren’t involved were being released to their families.

State and federal authorities responded, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In a news conference about students’ returning to in-school learning, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee asked people to pray for the victims and their families.

Several current or former students of the high school have been killed in gunfire this year; none were shot to death inside the school, NBC affiliate WBIR reported.

Rausch added that Monday was the first day of “National Youth Violence Prevention Week” in Knoxville, a campaign aimed at blunting violence among young people.

“This is a tough way to start a week that you’re focusing on trying to keep people safe,” he said.

No classes will be held at Austin-East on Tuesday and Wednesday, Knox County Schools tweeted.