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New report offers further details on Magruder High School shooting

In the after-action report, Chief Security Officer of MCPS Edward A. Clarke describes the events surrounding the shooting.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — More details are coming to light months after a 15-year-old boy was found shot in a Colonel Zadok Magruder High School bathroom.

DeAndre Thomas was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition after he was shot while at school on January 21. The high school was on lockdown for several hours as school leaders and police investigated the situation. 

Steven Alston Jr., 17, was taken into police custody and charged as an adult with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony/violent crime, possession of a dangerous weapon on school property and possession of a firearm by a minor.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) released an "after-action" report months after the shooting. Click here to read that full report. 

MCPS Director of Communications Chris Cram said the district was releasing the report to the public to help the community have a full understanding of what happened, and what is being done to implement lessons learned. 

In the after-action report, Chief Security Officer of MCPS Edward A. Clarke describes the events surrounding the shooting.

According to the report, the high school's Security Team Leader (STL) found Thomas in a boy's bathroom just before 1 p.m. after seeing students running away.  

"The STL noticed students running from the hallway away from the C-Hall boy's bathroom while he was making rounds in the area, and this directed him to investigate the situation," the report reads. 

As the STL entered the bathroom while other students ran out, the STL found Thomas heavily bleeding from a gunshot wound in the lower abdomen/pelvis area. The STL was able to help save Thomas with the use of an available "Stop the Bleed Kit."

According to the Stop the Bleed website, a "Stop the Bleed Kit" was developed with manufacturers in the hemorrhage control industry and the military. A basic kit includes items to help create a tourniquet and help control bleeding. Click here to learn more. 

Officials described the initial situation as "complicated," saying that Thomas would not tell the STL what had happened to him or who the other students in the bathroom were. None of the students who ran ever came forward to report what happened or attempted to get Thomas medical attention. 

The report claims staff called 911 within minutes of finding Thomas. When 911 asked for more information regarding the injured student, a staff member allegedly told dispatch that a 16-year-old student was bleeding and, "it looked like a possible stabbing." 

Fire and Rescue were sent to the school, but told not to go inside until police arrived. Before Fire and Rescue reached the school, officials figured out Thomas had been shot and paramedics were also sent to help. 

The principal then placed the school on lockdown. 

First responders arrived and were able to help Thomas, who survived his injuries. 

School officials say they reviewed CCTV footage to help identify the students who were seen running from the bathroom. The video led to officials identifying an 11th-grade student, Alston, as the alleged shooter. Staff believe Alston was inside a classroom when the school went into lockdown. He was later taken into custody by the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD).

SWAT officers claim Alston had broken down a "ghost gun" into different components and the firearm was no longer operational.

After Alston was taken into custody, and there was no longer a threat school, officials lifted the lockdown. 

Months after the shooting, MCPS officials believe there are six lessons to be learned from this incident. 

1. Information Provided to 911 calls: School officials believe training in how MCPS, MCFRS and MCP could work together on what information needs and what 911 operators need to ask could be helpful. 

2. Emergency Medical Treatment: School officials think it would be beneficial to have more "Stop the Bleed Kits" placed in schools and staff should receive more training on life-saving treatments. 

3. Community Engagement Officers (CEO): MCPS officials say Magruder's CEO was able to arrive within minutes of the 911 call and requested more officers. Officials believe this helped expedite police response. 

4. Incident Response Command and Training: MCPS administrators and staff hope to have Incident Command training, including tabletop exercises that will improve coordination of response between MCPS, law enforcement and fire and rescue crews. 

5. Communication During Lockdown: MCPS officials hope to take a look at communication procedures during prolonged lockdowns. They also want to look at ways to how students and staff can use restrooms and other measures during that time. 

6. Law Enforcement's School Access: MCPS and MCPD will review whether law enforcement has the proper key fobs to access MCPS schools by unlocking entry doors. 

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