COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — For anyone who is struggling with thoughts of suicide or has a loved one having thoughts of suicide, help is available by calling 988.
Students at Pickerington Ridgeview Jr. High School were evacuated within an hour and a half after a parent took his life inside the building, police said.
Pickerington Police Chief Tod Cheney said the mother and stepfather of a student were at the school when they became aware of a possible criminal act that took place off school grounds.
A detective went to speak with the 40-year-old stepfather who then pulled out a gun and shot himself in an administrative office just before 10 a.m.
WSYX is not naming the stepfather at this time.
"At that point, the stepfather was seated in an office beside the administrative area of the junior high," Cheney said. "Our detective stepped into that office to speak with the stepfather. He was only in there a few minutes, if that, and while the detective was in the office, the step-parent produced a pistol and did commit suicide there in front of the detective."
No students or teachers were present where it happened, the police chief said.
A school resource officer radioed that a shot was fired inside the school and ordered a full lockdown at 9:55 a.m., and at least 13 officers were at the school within seven minutes.
Police said the coroner arrived an hour after the incident and students evacuated by bus an hour and 26 minutes after the gunshot.
Pickerington Local School District canceled classes Friday. They offered support for students, families, and staff at the high school.