Police confirm shooting at Perry High School. Ambulances sent, parents picking up kids

Police responding to Perry High School the morning of January 4, 2024. Photo by Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

By Allison Ullmann and Philip Joens, Des Moines Register

Heavy police and medical presence was at Perry High School early Thursday morning, about 40 miles northwest of downtown Des Moines in Dallas County, after reports of a shooting that could include multiple victims.

Police on scene have confirmed to the Des Moines Register there was a shooter at the school but believe it is no longer an active situation. Streets for several blocks are barricaded, dozens of law enforcement from across central Iowa were on scene and a medical helicopter was seen landing at the school at about 8:30 a.m.


Parents started arriving at about 8:50 a.m. to find their students.

City spokesperson Chris Cohea said the elementary school nearby was locked down and all students there were being kept in their rooms.

Dispatcher tells police multiple injured, scanner traffic says

The first call from dispatch was at about 7:37 a.m., according to a recording from the police scanner. Dispatchers said they had access to school cameras and reported seeing something in the west hallway.

A dispatcher advised first responders of “reports of multiple subjects injured at this time.”

An unknown first responder advised dispatchers that he encountered a “male subject down in the hallway — appears to be self-inflicted” and that he was “showing other victims.” He later advised that he was outside of Room 308 and “subject that’s down is deceased.”

Call for two medical helicopters went out at 7:46 a.m.


Police responding to Perry High School the morning of January 4, 2024.
Photo by Philip Joen / The Register

Students evacuated from high school

High school students were evacuated to Perry Lutheran Homes and the Iowa National Guard Armory. Teacher Holly Killmer said the nursing home was so kind and had tissues and snacks out for the students.

Parents told to meet students at elementary school

Police on scene are telling parents to pick up their students at the elementary school, about a mile west of the high school.

Parent reports trying to get their student

Erica Jolliff said that her daughter, a ninth grader, reported getting rushed from the school grounds at 7:45 am. Distraught, Jolliff was still looking for her son Amir, a sixth grader, one hour later.

“I just want to know that he’s safe and OK,” Jolliff said. “They won’t tell me nothing.”

The high school is part of the 1,785-student Perry Community School District. Thursday was the first day back in school for students following the holiday break.

School board member ‘praying’ for those involved

When reached by phone, Perry School Board member Travis Landgrebe, who has a son in sixth grade, said he could not “confirm nor deny” any reports.

Landgrebe did confirm his son was home and unharmed.

I am “praying for all involved,” Landgrebe told the Des Moines Register in a phone interview.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This is a developing story and will be updated.

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