OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - The state has released the name of an Oshkosh Police Department School Resource Officer who was stabbed before he shot a student at Oshkosh West High School Tuesday.
Oshkosh West School Resource Officer Michael Wissink (Photo: Oshkosh Police Department)
The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation says the officer is Michael Wissink.
Wissink is a 21-year veteran of the Oshkosh Police Department. He has been a school resource officer since 2007.
Police say a 16-year-old Oshkosh West High School student stabbed Officer Wissink before the officer opened fire on the teen Tuesday morning.
A confrontation between the student and officer happened shortly after 9 a.m. in the school resource officer's office.
At 9:12 a.m., Winnebago County dispatchers received a call from Officer Wissink requesting help and an ambulance. Two minutes later, the first responding officer arrived at the school at 375 N Eagle St.
"It was determined that there was an altercation at the SRO's office between the officer and a 16-year-old student. Initial reports saw that the student produced a weapon and stabbed the officer, at which time the officer fired on the student, striking the student one time," says Oshkosh Police Chief Dean Smith.
The student and the officer were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Chief Smith does not believe their injuries are life-threatening.
No other students were hurt, according to the police. Smith says investigators believe only one student was involved.
Chief Smith says the student used an "edged weapon" but stopped short of saying it was a knife.
The school resource officer carries a 9mm, according to Chief Smith.
Oshkosh West was placed on lockdown. Students were taken to Perry Tipler Middle School, 325 S Eagle St, where they were reunited with parents. The reunification process is expected to be finished by 2 p.m.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is in charge of the investigation. This is protocol in officer-involved shootings.
"DCI is continuing to collect evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to the Winnebago County District Attorney when the investigation concludes," reads a statement from the DOJ. The agency said no further information would be released at this time.
"Today's tragic event shows that trained school resource officers can help save lives," says Superintendent Vickie Cartwright, Oshkosh Area School District.
Officers immediately began a sweep of the school. The building was cleared at 11:18 a.m.
"Our students and staff followed our emergency protocols including our ALICE protocols of Alert Lockdown Inform Counter and Evacuate," says Dr. Cartwright.
Oshkosh West freshman Alexis Watkins told Action 2 News about the tense moments when it was announced there was a situation at the school.
"It was really scary. They went over the intercom and everyone was freaking out over the intercom. Where are we going? They said lockdown but everyone was running out of the school. I twas really bad, " says Alexis Watkins. "Everyone over the intercom was just like run, run, run. And then they were like it's a lockdown, you have to stay in the room. And everyone was like, no you have to run. So I just ran." TOP ARTICLES1/5READ MOREOshkosh West: Counselors available tostudents; YMCA open
Cartwright says some students stayed in the classroom while others ran. She said that is part of ALICE training.
"There are times when it is more practical to evacuate versus going into a lockdown situation. So rather than keeping students in a facility in a lockdown situation and there is a potential person with a weapon, if you are in a position within that facility in order to evacuate or remove yourself from harm, that is the proper protocol to utilize at that time," said Cartwright.
Action 2 News spoke with Pastor John E. Seelman at nearby Immanuel Lutheran Church. He told us he saw students running across the street. He said police were on scene in minutes.
Pastor Seelman said some students came into the church, and he walked them to a bus to be transported to Perry Tipler Middle School.
"I did not realize how many officers there were on duty in Oshkosh. How many cars and different vehicles showed up," says Pastor John Seelman, Immanuel Lutheran Church. "Shortly after the first ambulance arrived, someone was brought out in a wheelchair and they were transferred to a stretcher and then into an ambulance that left shortly after that."
Chief Smith addressed rumors of threats to other Oshkosh schools, saying, "There may be some additional rumors of threats out there. We're still investigating."
Chief Smith was also asked about reports of a Snapchat post that may have threatened an incident at the school. "That's still part of the investigation. I can't speak to that at this time," Smith said.
At 2 p.m., Oshkosh Police posted on Facebook that they investigated a comment on the police department's own social media post. Some felt the comment suggested a threat against Oshkosh North High School. The police department says based on its investigation, the comment wasn't meant to be a threat and officers don't feel students are in danger.
About 1,700 students attend Oshkosh West High School.
"This is a tragedy," said Chief Smith."But together we're going to come through. We're going to make everyone whole."
There will be no classes held in the Oshkosh Area School District on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
Tuesday night, the district announced on its website that counselors, social workers and psychologists from throughout the Oshkosh area will be available to students, families and staff members to provide mental health support on Wednesday:
South Park Middle School - 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., December 4
Perry Tipler Middle School - 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., December 4
Merrill Middle School - 12 p.m. - 3 p.m., December 4
Roosevelt Elementary School - 3 p.m. - 6 p.m., December 4
School district leaders also said a decision on when to resume classes will be made and announced on Wednesday.
"Our entire school community is deeply saddened to have been touched by such a traumatic experience. We want to assure you that the safety of our students is our top priority and that our school and district has a comprehensive emergency response plan in place to navigate safety situations. We are grateful to our West students, staff, and families for following our safety procedures, as well as your patience and cooperation throughout this process," Superintendent Cartwright and principal Erin Kohl wrote in a joint statement.
The shooting at Oshkosh West comes one day after an officer shot a 17-year-old student at Waukesha South High School. Officials had received reports that the student had a handgun. The student survived the shooting and was taken into custody.