Gunman Fatally Shot at Tenn. High School

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn.—Sullivan Central High School was placed on lockdown Monday after an armed man entered the campus and pointed a gun at the principal’s head.

Thomas Cowan, 62, walked onto the campus—where his brother works as a janitor—between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m., carrying a .380-caliber semi-automatic and a .25-caliber handgun, reports He was waiting to be buzzed into the school when Principal Melanie Riden walked through the locked doors. Cowan then pointed the .380-caliber semi-automatic at her, according to

School Resource Officer (SRO) Carolyn Gudger saw the incident, drew her gun and shielded the principal’s body with her own. Riden was able to get away as Gudger tried to calm the suspect down. The school was locked down around 9:15 a.m.

Officers from the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department arrived at the scene, and Cowan began pointing his gun at them, refusing to put it down. The officers then shot him. Officials would not say how many rounds hit the gunman, who died at a local hospital. No students, faculty or staff were injured during the incident. (Story continues below.)

The school was dismissed at 10:30 a.m. Gudger and the officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation examines the case.

The gunman’s neighbors described Cowan as a government conspiracy theorist. Authorities are trying to determine his motive; however, they said that it was Cowan’s intention to kill someone.

Read the full article.


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