A police officer is understood to have been shot and injured during the incident in Knoxville, Tennessee. A police spokesman said: “Multiple agencies are on the scene of a shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School. Multiple gunshot victims reported, including a Knoxville Police Department officer. The investigation remains active at this time. Please avoid the area.”
Police and emergency workers raced to reports of the shooting at around 3pm local time and have blocked off access to the school and surrounding areas.
Special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Nashville Field Division are among those at the scene of the shooting
Local media quoted sources saying the police officer who was shot was the Austin-East school resource officer.
Knox County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kimberly Glenn said that someone from the department was heading to the hospital to check the condition of the injured officer.
Television news images showed police and fire crews surrounding the school in east Knoxville.
Local 10 News reported that the school had been placed under a “hard lockdown” and that parents were told to go to the back of the campus to pick up their children.
Knox County Schools spokeswoman Carly Harrington confirmed the school was in lockdown.
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Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas tweeted the school has been secured.
Mr Thomas said: “We are gathering information about this tragic situation and will provide additional information as soon as possible.
“The school building has been secured and students who were not involved in the incident have been released to their families.”
Knox County Schools said it had established a reunification site for parents to collect children who attend the school.
The Sheriff’s Office said there is “no active threat” at the school but the investigation remained “active”.
Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said she had spoken to the injured officer in hospital.
She said: “He is conscious and he’s in good spirits. I met with his wife, he’s going to be OK.”
Ms Kincannon said she had thanked the officer for putting his life on the line for the students and staff at the school.
She said: “He said that he’d rather that he be hurt than anybody else.”