Mattoon, IL – Mattoon High School teacher Angela McQueen is being hailed as a hero after she tackled a student who had opened fire in the school’s cafeteria.
The incident occurred on Wednesday, September 20, about 11:30 AM, according to CBS Local Miami. A student, who has not yet been identified, entered the cafeteria and opened fire into the crowd of students.
As more than 100 police officers raced to the school, chaos reigned in the cafeteria and school as students and faculty members ran for their lives. Except physical education teacher Angela McQueen didn’t run away, she charged at the shooter and took him down.
A student said “She [McQueen] seen the gun come out and she was going to tackle him, and which she did, and he still had his finger on the trigger and it was flying up and hitting the ceiling.” A school resource officer then arrived on scene and disarmed the shooter.
A student whose knuckles were grazed by a bullet said, “It was one of the scariest things that could happen.” He watched as the shooter continued firing shots, and one person was shot twice.
“She’s been trained obviously, but in these scenarios, you just don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens,” Mattoon Police Chief Jeff Branson said. “And with the quick response of the teacher, if that teacher had not responded as quickly as they had, I think the situation would’ve been a lot different.”
McQueen continued helping after the shooter was in custody. A third student said that she was walking around and checking on students, “making sure they were ok.” That student said “I went up and gave her a hug and thanked her because she could have — that could have been a lot worse and she made it to where it wasn’t.”
One teen was hospitalized after being shot but has since been released.