Armed HS Resource Officer Takes Down Shooter, Thwarting Mass Casualties
'Because of his heroic actions, countless lives were saved,' said one official about cop Mark Dallas, who ran toward danger
A recently expelled former student opened fire near the gym of Dixon High School in Dixon, Illinois, on Wednesday morning, multiple outlets reported. Seniors were in the gym practicing for an upcoming graduation ceremony when the shots rang out.
Officer Mark Dallas, Dixon High’s school resource officer (SRO), pursued the shooter, later identified as 19-year-old Matthew A. Milby.
Dallas returned Milby’s fire and struck the suspect in the shoulder. Milby was transferred to police custody and treated for the gunshot wound, SaukValley reported.
Neither the officer nor any students were injured, as officials stressed at a press conference later in the day.
Dixon’s Mayor Liandro Arellano Jr. said, “A lot of things went right today, when a great many of them could’ve gone wrong. We at the city are deeply indebted to our officer and the responses his actions took today.”
Dixon Police Chief Steven Howell stated, "Due to the quick response of the Dixon High School school resource officer as well as all assisting agencies, there were no injuries to staff, students, or any other community members."
Officials said Dallas has 24 years in law enforcement; 15 of those are with the Dixon department, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Howell noted other factors in the positive outcome of the frightening chain of events. "The students and staff responded to the situation extremely well," he said at the press conference. "The district has been receiving ongoing training from the Dixon Police Department [as to] how to respond to these situations." He praised students and staff who had barricaded themselves into classrooms per the training they had received.
"I could not be more proud of the police officer and the way he responded to the situation," he continued. "With shots ringing out through the hallways of the school, he charged toward the suspect and confronted him head-on. Because of his heroic actions, countless lives were saved. We are forever indebted to him for his service and his bravery."
"The bottom line is they were prepared," said Lee County Sheriff John Simonton, noting he'd been responsible for providing similar training to a number of schools and agencies during his career.
Simonton echoed Howell's praise for Dallas' heroism. "He saved an enormous amount of lives in this school today."
Parkland's SRO Deputy Scot Peterson chose inaction in the face of danger, while Dixon's Officer Dallas chose to rush toward it.
The parallels between the Valentine's Day shooting earlier this year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the Dixon High School shooting are striking.
It appears that both shooters, for example, were students who were expelled from their schools. Both Parkland and Dixon had an armed school resource officer.
But the difference is critical: Parkland's SRO Deputy Scot Peterson chose inaction in the face of danger, while Dixon's Officer Dallas chose to rush toward it. In Parkland, 17 people died and 17 more were injured. In Dixon, only the shooter suffered what is apparently a minor injury. Peterson resigned and retired — and is now receiving a monthly pension of $8,702.35.
In situations like the Dixon shooting, the anti-Second Amendment Left are often silent. But the facts speak for themselves: Kids were in a high school gym when a shooter advanced with a weapon. If not for an armed SRO who took quick action, the outcome could have been far different.
Dixon senior Devin Scott said the whole experience didn't sink in until his adrenaline began to wear off.
"I almost started crying," he told the Tribune. "It was scary. My life could have ended."
Scott also said gym teacher Andrew McKay came running after the shots started, and shouted that everyone should get out. Scott called McKay a hero.
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, an anti-gun group, was quick to tweet a backhanded compliment about Officer Dallas' heroic actions. She also managed a shameful dig at America and Americans who support the Second Amendment.
In stark opposition to Watts' response, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois responded this way:
According to WGN-TV, a woman who identified herself as the gunman's mother told reporters: "My son has been very, very sad for a long time."
Thanks to Officer Dallas, her son now has a chance at a future — and so do the many students who could have been his victims.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.