Hero teacher saved lives during Oregon school shooting

Hero teacher saved lives during Oregon school shooting

Hero teacher saved lives during Oregon school shooting

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by KGW Staff

KREM.com

Posted on June 11, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 11 at 9:06 AM

TROUTDALE. Ore. — A teacher wounded in Tuesday's school shooting that left two people dead is drawing rave reviews as a hero whose cool head kept the death toll from growing much larger.

Reynolds High School health and physical education teacher Todd Rispler suffered a graze wound on his hip when the shooting began. Freshman Emilio Hoffman, 14, was killed.

MORE: Freshman Emilio Hoffman killed in Ore. school shooting

Despite his injury, Rispler managed to initiate the school security procedures that likely saved countless lives, Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson said. The school was locked down and SWAT teams swept in. Police later found the shooter dead in a bathroom, apparently the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Students were not surprised to see Rispler, a 1982 graduate of the school, step up.

"He's like one of the best teachers in school," said sophomore Edgar Arias, who recalled the terrifying moments in the school gym. "I saw that he had blood on the side of his shirt."

That didn't stop the 50-year-old from doing something police called heroic.

MORE: Student killed, teacher injured at Reynolds shooting

Anderson said the wounded Rispler was able to make it to the administrative offices to start the school lockdown. News of the shooting quickly spread fast and students hid in their classrooms.

"It was really scary because someone figured out Rispler had been shot, but nobody knew ... if he was … or wasn't OK," said sophomore Erica Norton. "He's honestly one of my favorite teachers."

Students knew Rispler's fate minutes later, when he returned to the gym to help them evacuate.

Interactive timeline: Deadly school shootings in U.S.

Arias credited Rispler in those tense moments for "his bravery, knowing how to handle things, being calm."

Norton also appreciated Rispler's calming influence.

"He was just being like everybody else, just saying 'it's okay, we're going to get through this,'" recalled Norton. "He said, 'just get on the buses and get home get to your families.'"

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