HARROGATE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A middle school was put on lockdown after a man shot himself in the school parking lot.
The Claiborne County Sheriff's Office says the shooting happened at H.Y. Livesay on Highway 63. The man shot himself in a back parking lot where his wife, who works at the school, and another employee saw it and immediately called 911.
In the frantic moments afterward, Sheriff David Ray ordered Livesay locked down.
Charlotte Frick's daughter goes to the school and heard what happened from a family member.
"I come up here to find out what's going on," Frick said. "I want to know firsthand, you know. I'm a parent, a single parent; and I've just come from work to know what's going on."
Sheriff Ray said Donald Williams of Rossum Town came to Livesay Middlel just after 10 a.m. Monday to see his wife. She and another employee stepped outside to talk to him.
"She was asking him to lower the window at that time," Sheriff Ray said. "He took a small handgun to his chest and pulled the trigger."
Williams didn't die at the school. He was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center while Ray checked to see if there were additional threats to students and staff.
"I asked the school to be shut down to determine if there was danger or any other gunman there," Sheriff Ray said. "It was determined there was not. I don't think children knew this went on because they didn't see or hear it."
The sheriff is not sure why Williams went to the school. He left work abruptly after telling his coworkers he had an emergency. Investigators say he had a fender-bender about a mile from the school, but that didn't slow him down - though Sheriff Ray and Charlotte Frick wish it had.
"He was there to make a point," according to Ray.
"I don't understand that," Frick said. "I don't know why he would inolve children like that. To come up here - I'm sure that scared the children to death, and I know it would have mine."
School district officials put a phone alert system in place to let parents know that the students and the staff were safe. They say they believe the shooting was an isolated incident.
Sheriff Ray says Williams had a valid gun permit but could face charges for bringing a gun on to school property.
While WVLT allows comments on articles, we ask that you respect the online community. Comments may be removed at any time for violations including:
Comments may be checked for inappropriate content or rule violation, but the station is under no legal obligation to monitor or remove comments. If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.