MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

February 5, 2013

Coweta student kills self at school

Two buildings put on lockdown

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— COWETA — A teenage student shot and killed himself Monday inside a bathroom at Coweta Intermediate High School.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner identified the student as Triston Stephens.

Coweta Police Lt. Donnie Krumsiek said officers responded to a call about 8:35 a.m. and were at the school “within seconds.”

The intermediate high school houses ninth-grade students and is separate from the high school. Students from the intermediate high school, or the “I-High,” were taken to the high school, where their parents picked them up.

Both buildings were locked down as police cleared and searched the I-High. Only classes at the intermediate high school were canceled, but many parents picked up their children from the other buildings.

Denise Lopez was one of those parents. Her children, Andersen and A.J. Lopez, go to Coweta High School, but she took them home before noon.

“It’s a tragic situation,” she said. “We’re so sad about what happened.”

Lopez said she heard about the shooting through Facebook and Twitter, because Coweta students are allowed to have cell phones in class.

“They’re not supposed to use the phones in class, but in a situation like this, word got out fast and I knew my kids were OK,” she said.

Andersen, a senior, said students at the high school weren’t immediately sure about what was happening, only that their building was locked down.

“We were told we could keep doing our work, and they would let us know when we could go,” he said.

Krumsiek said during an earlier news conference that “no firearm was discharged in a building,” but he later apologized for that comment, saying it was a mistake.

“We’re going to try and give the family some closure, and that closure will come with the truth,” he said. “And we’ll try to provide that.”

Many parents reported learning the news from social media outlets before being notified by the school through a recorded message from Superintendent Jeff Holmes.

Holmes, asked what he would tell parents following Monday’s shooting, said: “We care about their kids. We care about every single one of their kids.”

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.