By TODD RICHMOND
The Associated Press
MARINETTE, Wis. - A student armed with a handgun held more than two dozen students and a teacher hostage in a Wisconsin high school for about five hours before shooting himself when police broke into the classroom, authorities said Monday. No other injuries were reported.
Officers outside the Marinette High School classroom said they heard three gunshots shortly after 8 p.m. and broke through the door, said Police Chief Jeff Skorik. The gunman, a 15-year-old boy, then shot himself.
Skorik said the teen was taken to an area hospital and his condition was not immediately known Monday night.
Five of the 23 students taken hostage had been released about 20 minutes before police entered the classroom because they told the gunman they had to use the bathroom, Skorik said.
The other 18 students and the teacher, who had acted as a mediator between the hostage-taker and authorities, were unharmed.
Skorik said the gunman had refused to communicate with officials during the standoff, but allowed the teacher to speak with authorities by phone.
One of the students taken hostage said the gunman appeared depressed but didn't seem like he wanted to hurt anyone.
Zach Campbell said the students were watching a film in class when the teen pulled out a gun and shot at the projector. He says the gunman then fired another shot.
Zach said he and the other students tried to keep the gunman calm by talking to him about hunting and fishing.
The high school has an annual enrollment of approximately 800 students, according to its website.
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"They just spent a whole bundle of money on classroom doors to make them secure, but they don't have metal detectors at the school," said Bradley Behrendt, a councilman in the town of about 12,000 people that sits on the border with Michigan's Upper Peninsula.