Student fatally shoots administrator at Omaha high school, kills self, police say
OMAHA — The son of a police detective opened fire at a city high school yesterday, fatally wounding the assistant principal and forcing panicked students to take cover in the kitchen of the building just as they returned from holiday break.
The gunman, who had been attending the school for no more than two months, also wounded the principal before fleeing from the scene and fatally shooting himself in his car about a mile away, police said.
Authorities declined to speculate about why 17-year-old Robert Butler Jr. targeted the administrators.
Vice principal Vicki Kaspar, 58, died at a hospital hours after the shooting, police said. Principal Curtis Case, 45, was listed in stable condition.
Jessica Liberator, a sophomore at Millard South High School, said she was in the cafeteria when another administrator “rushed in to tell everybody to get in the back of the kitchen.’’
She said she started to cry when students heard a knock on the kitchen door and a cafeteria worker yelled for everybody to get down. It was a false alarm.
She huddled with Brittany Brase, another sophomore. Asked whether they were best friends, Brase said, “No, not really.’’ But, she added: “She’s my best friend now. These things bring you together.’’
Butler had transferred in November from a high school in Lincoln, about 50 miles southwest of Omaha. Millard South High School, on Omaha’s west side, has about 2,100 students.
In a rambling Facebook post filled with expletives, Butler warned yesterday that people would hear about the “evil’’ things he did and said the school drove him to violence.
He wrote that the Omaha school was worse than his previous one and that the new city had changed him. He apologized and said he wanted people to remember him for who he was before affecting “the lives of the families I ruined.’’ The post ended with “goodbye.’’
Butler’s stepgrandfather, Robert Uribe, said the news still seemed unreal to him yesterday evening and didn’t seem to fit with the polite teen he knew.
“I have no idea what led to this,’’ said Uribe, who last saw Butler about a month ago.
Police Chief Alex Hayes provided no details on the weapon Butler used or how he obtained it. Butler’s father is a detective for the Omaha Police Department. Investigators were interviewing the seven-year veteran.
Crystal Losole, whose son and a nephew are juniors at the school, said she got a call from her son when he was hiding in the kitchen.
Hugging him later and weeping, Losole said that when she learned of the shooting, “my knees kind of buckled.’’