Police say teenage boy held hostages at school

Photo by: Mikia Gould

PHILIPPI, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia State Police say a 14-year-old boy held several students and a teacher hostage in a high school classroom before he let them go and eventually was taken into custody. No injuries were reported.

State Police Lt. Michael Baylous says in a news release that the boy had a pistol in a second-floor classroom Tuesday at Philip Barbour High School.

Baylous says after local authorities received a call about the matter at 1:30 p.m., the school was placed on lockdown, and students elsewhere in the school were moved to the school's football field, accounted for and sent home by school bus.

Baylous says that after initial negotiations, the suspect agreed to release the students and teacher and then eventually put the gun down and surrendered without further incident.

Baylous says the suspect has been taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Steve Saltis was among several parents outside an area cordoned off by police tape at West Virginia's Philip Barbour High School waiting for students to be released.

Saltis told The Associated Press by telephone that his daughter attends the school. Passing minutes seemed like hours before authorities let the students head home. Saltis said "a lot" was going through his mind in the meantime.

Saltis said many students had been sitting in the school's football stadium after the school was evacuated, and he was able to talk to his daughter. But Saltis says law enforcement officials told him nothing while the suspect was still in the school.

Asked why students weren't immediately released to their parents, Saltis said he could only speculate: "She's in their protection. That's the way it works."