A police officer who shot and wounded a 19-year-old gunman in a shooting at a northern Illinois high school has been hailed a hero. Authorities have now identified the officer praised for his brave and quick actions.
Officer Mark Dallas, a 15-year veteran of the Dixon Police Department, has been credited for stopping a gunman who fired several shots at around 8 a.m. near the west gym of Dixon High School where a graduation rehearsal ceremony was about to commence.
Dallas, who was assigned as the school’s resource officer five years ago, quickly located the suspect and confronted him. The courageous officer then chased after the suspect, a former student, who had fled the school.
The 19-year-old fired several rounds at Dallas, who returned fire and ended up wounding the suspect.
Dixon Police Chief Steven Howell Jr. said the suspect was then taken into custody and was receiving medical attention for his non-life-threatening wounds. No one else, including the officer, was injured in the incident.
Authorities have identified the suspect as Matthew A. Milby of Dixon. He has been charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated discharge at a school employee, and aggravated discharge at a school building, reported Fox 10. His bond is set at $2 million.
— WGN TV News (@WGNNews) May 17, 2018
“Things could have gone much worse,” Dixon Mayor Liandro Arellano Jr. told a news conference.
Officials and members of the community have credited Dallas for saving many lives and arresting the suspect.
“He saved an enormous amount of lives,” Lee County Sheriff John Simonton said, reported the news station.
“I could not be more proud of the police officer and the way he responded to the situation. With shots ringing out through the hallways of the school, he charged towards the suspect and confronted him, head on,” Howell said.
“Because of his heroic actions, countless lives were saved. We are forever indebted to him for his service and his bravery.”
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner also praised Dallas for his bravery on Twitter.
Today, we should all be very thankful to school resource officer Mark Dallas for his bravery and quick action to immediately diffuse a dangerous situation at Dixon High School.
— Governor Rauner (@GovRauner) May 16, 2018
Other members of the community have echoed the official’s praises for the officer.
I love officer Dallas he saved everybody in Dixon high school and that’s facts.
— AC3 🏈 (@arthurcox_) May 16, 2018
The Senior Class will forever be grateful to Officer Dallas and what he did for us💙💙
— Maddy💙🌙 (@mmelvin16_) May 16, 2018
Dallas, who has 24 years experience in law enforcement, will be put on administrative leave, which is the department’s standard policy, Howell said.
All schools in Dixon, a small city about 100 miles west of Chicago, were placed on lockdown on Wednesday.
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives responded and assisted local law enforcement agencies.
Responding officers found that students and staff had barricaded classroom doors with desks, bookcases, and other objects as they learned in training, Howell said.
The schools reopened after authorities determined the gunman had acted alone and there were no further threats.
Armed school resource officers have been in the headlines since the Feb. 14 massacre of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, where an on-duty resource officer failed to confront the gunman.
The City of Dixon Illinois government said that the Illinois State Police are conducting an independent investigation into the incident.
Reuters contributed to this report