MATTOON -- At Tuesday's City Council meeting, Police Chief Jeff Branson thanked the emergency personnel, school district staff and everyone else who helped with the response to the Sept. 20 shooting at Mattoon High School.
The Mattoon Police Department and Mattoon school district have reported that the alleged shooter, who is an MHS student, fired several rounds in the cafeteria at lunchtime. One student was shot and injured during this incident, but was subsequently treated and released from the hospital.
During an interview Wednesday afternoon, Branson said he told the council that the entire Mattoon High School staff did an outstanding job of implementing their crisis response training on Sept. 20 and that they received great support from other district staff members.
Branson said he wants to particularly thank teacher Angela McQueen for subduing the alleged shooter, Mattoon Police Department school resource officer Kasey Alexander for disarming and arresting him, and district nurse Vicky Wright for tending to the gunshot victim. He said the nurse got the victim's bleeding under control until ambulance crews arrived and then she checked to see if any other students were injured.
"She was calm, cool, and collected," Branson said of the nurse.
Branson said Mattoon officers who were off duty on Sept. 20 rushed to the scene even before they were called in to help. He said Mattoon officers were joined by personnel from the Charleston, Lake Land, and Eastern Illinois University police department; Coles County Sheriff's Office; Illinois State Police; and other agencies.
"It was pretty encouraging to see everyone step up to the plate and respond so quickly to our incident," Branson said, adding that the Mattoon Fire Department and other emergency responders also assisted. He also thanked Mattoon officers for their dedication in interviewing more than 300 witnesses in 7-8 days, often late into the evening.
Branson said the police department plans to have officers patrol the upcoming MHS homecoming activities to help bring peace of mind to the community, adding that they do not anticipate any problems. The football game is Friday night and the dance is Saturday night.
In other matters, the council voted to appointed Clinton Lawrence and Brett Hall to regular employment status with the police department. The council also approved a 10-year extension of an agreement to sell untreated water from Lake Mattoon to the Shelby County Energy Center company for the cooling of power generating equipment.