Assistant Principal Tackles Middle School Shooter, Saves Lives

An unidentified sixth grader allegedly fired multiple shots into his middle school’s ceiling. The suspect’s father says it was a “cry for help.”

Assistant Principal Tackles Middle School Shooter, Saves Lives

Plymouth, Minnesota – A 12-year-old male student was arrested Monday morning after allegedly firing several shots inside the hallway of Plymouth Middle School.

Robbinsdale School District officials and Plymouth police say no one was injured, reports KSTP.

The unidentified sixth grader allegedly fired multiple shots into the school’s hallway ceiling around 8:45 a.m. as classes were changing. Immediately afterward, students who were in the hallway ran away.

The first two adults on scene were Assistant Principal Kim Royston and the school resource officer (SRO). Royston, who was formerly a football player, tackled the student and was quickly able to disarm him, reports WCCO. Additionally, the SRO de-escalated the situation and immediately secured the school, reports ABC News.

No force was used by the officer on the suspect.

The campus, which has about 700 students, was immediately placed on lockdown. A weapon was recovered at the scene.

Law enforcement and school officials coordinated the reunification of students with their parents at Armstrong High School, which is just down the street from Plymouth Middle School, reports KARE.

A few hours after the shooting, the suspect’s father, Troy Gorham told KSTP: “I would like to apologize to all the staff, students and their families for the actions of my son today. It was a cry for help. He tried suicide-by-cop. This was not racially motivated and I hope that we can get him the help that he needs to continue living his life.”

Gorham said the gun his son used belonged to him, and his son took it from his bedroom.

“It’s the first year of middle school,” Gorham told KARE. “He didn’t keep in contact with friends from elementary school. The COVID. These kids are getting depressed. They have no friends. They don’t know what to do. They’re sitting on their computers. It’s starting to fry their brains.”

The district issued a statement that the incident appeared to not be racially motivated. Plymouth police are investigating the shooting.

If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit for additional information. 

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About the Author

robin hattersley headshot

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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One response to “Assistant Principal Tackles Middle School Shooter, Saves Lives”

  1. How can students (especially males) ask for help? A website with an Emotional Help downloadable (you can print and have available in schools) I have found that may be of assistance is

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