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Law enforcement neutralizes active shooter...

A young man casually walks into Kenmare High School with an AR-15 assault rifle just as graduation is about to begin and opens fire in the gymnasium.

5/15/18 (Tue)

A young man casually walks into Kenmare High School with an AR-15 assault rifle just as graduation is about to begin and opens fire in the gymnasium.

The shooter, later identified as Andrew Mathieson, popped off 17 rounds from a 30-round clip before he was confronted by the Kenmare Police Department and killed.

As Mathieson walked into the gym, he raised his rifle barrel and with one shot, killed Kenmare police sergeant Chris Almlie before Almlie had a chance to react with his own weapon.

In what seemed like just a couple of seconds, Mathieson was on his way toward the crowd assembled for the annual graduation ceremony.

As people realized what was happening, they began to scramble, however, he was wounding and killing people with his assault rifle as he casually walked through the gym.

When Superintendent Duane Mueller realized what was happening, he put in a call to State Radio alerting law enforcement all across North Dakota that there was an active shooter in his school building.

It didn’t take long for law enforcement agencies to show up. In fact, within 5 minutes, the Burke County Sheriff’s Department was on scene, as was the North Dakota Highway Patrol, assessing the frantic situation that was unfolding.

Shortly thereafter, the Ward County Sheriff’s Department, Renville County Sheriff’s Department  and U.S. Border Patrol were in the building and among all law enforcement, an incident command post was established and officers were dispatched with weapons drawn in an attempt to find the shooter.

Meanwhile, teacher Donna Schmit, who is also a member of the Kenmare Ambulance Service, went into action checking on the wounded, and unfortunately, the deceased, that included officer Almlie and Kenmare band teacher Angela Hansen.

Since she was the only emergency medical technician on scene at that moment, her priority was to at least set up a triage in her mind so that when crews arrived, they could tend to the more seriously injured.

At least three students were wounded while others ran from the building to take cover.

High school principal Sarah Beckedahl was wounded in the shoulder but continued to protect a young boy despite the pain and bleeding. As she waited for help, one of the graduating seniors lay wounded about 20 feet from her position.

If that wasn’t enough to have to deal with, a call went through law enforcement communications that an individual was having a heart attack that was related to the incident.

Numerous things began to unfold simultaneously.

1.) Burke County deputies and Kenmare Police Department First Sgt. Allisha Britton were closing in on the shooter, who was now holed up in a locker room near the school’s wrestling area.

2.) Numerous ambulance crews arrived about the same time to begin their difficult task of stabilizing the wounded and getting them to the local hospital.

3.) Renville and Ward County deputies, along with an officer of the Border Patrol, began sweeping classrooms and clearing them as additional officers had the school surrounded on the outside so nobody, on their way to graduation, could get in, nor could the shooter get out without being seen.

4.) The Kenmare Community Hospital began taking calls informing staff that multiple wounded were on their way.

5.) Emergency management staff from Ward, Renville, Bottineau and Burke counties, as well as the 3 Affiliated Tribes, were in constant communication with each other to assist law enforcement as they closed in on the shooter.

6.) Mathieson, who was now cornered, began firing at the cops as they surrounded him.

7.) Minot TV stations arrived to catch video of the situation and find eyewitnesses to interview that included Mueller and one of the students who had rushed out of the building.

8.) Students were calling or texting their parents to let them know what was happening.

As the ambulance crews, seemingly unaffected by all the law enforcement activity, assisted the wounded, a Burke County deputy went on his radio to inform the 17 other law enforcement personnel that the shooter had been neutralized, was handcuffed and later died of his injuries.

In a news conference after the building was secure, Mueller said this was the second time in five years that this has occurred. The first time, school was in session and this time people were gathering for a large, community event.

“We have security at graduation, there’s always an officer at these events,” Mueller said. “The building is locked during school hours, but in this case, he just walked in because the doors were open for graduation.”

From the time Mathieson took his first shot, until Britton shot him, 24 minutes had passed.Many of the people who witnessed the incident, said it seemed like a lifetime... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!