AUSTIN, Texas - The identity of the Austin Independent School District police officer who was shot on Tuesday, Dec. 5 has been released It was the first Austin incident in a shooting spree that left 6 people dead, police say.
The officer has been identified as Sgt. Val Barnes.
Sgt. Barnes was reportedly attacked and shot in the leg around 10:40 a.m. near Nelson Field across the street from Northeast Early College High School.
A 22-year US Army veteran who has served as an AISD officer for 28 years, Sgt. Barnes said, "I’m just glad it was me, and not any of our kids."
Austin ISD police say Sgt. Val Barnes was shot in the leg during a shooting spree that left six people dead, and two officers and a cyclist injured in Austin and Bexar County. (Austin Independent School District)
After the shooting, Northeast ECHS was placed on lockdown until 2 p.m. when students were taken by bus to the Delco Activity Center to reunited with their families.
Austin ISD canceled classes for Wednesday, Dec. 6 following the shooting. They released a statement saying in part:
"Classes and all after school activities are canceled for tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 6, however, our campus will be open during normal hours to students and staff who wish or need to be on campus for any reason. Buses will run their normal morning and afternoon routes for students wishing to access services or meals. We will also run an additional early afternoon route for students who wish to return home after receiving lunch. Central Office employees will staff our school and provide support—including mental health and counseling services—to any students and staff on campus. No campus staff are expected to report to school."
Austin ISD police say Sgt. Barnes was taken to the hospital in stable condition. City Hall officials told FOX 7 Austin that the officer's injuries were superficial and did not require surgery. Sgt. Barnes has since been released from the hospital.
"We're grateful that Sergeant Val Barnes is now recovering at home. His swift response was key in keeping our campuses safe," said Matias Segura, interim Austin ISD superintendent.
In a press conference, AISD police chief Wayne Sneed released a timeline of events:
- 10:40 a.m.: A sergeant called saying they were taking gunfire and had been struck in the leg
- 10:43 a.m.: School resource officer arrived to assist the shot officer
- 10:44 a.m.: ATCEMS arrived at the scene
- 10:46 a.m.: The campus went into lockdown
- 10:47 a.m.: Austin police arrived at the scene
15 agencies responded to the campus to assist.
Police say 34-year-old Shane James, the suspect in the shooting near Northeast ECHS, was also responsible for a shooting that left two people dead in South Austin, a double homicide in Southwest Austin, and a double homicide in Bexar County.
He was taken into custody after a police pursuit in Southwest Austin and is now in custody in the Travis County Jail.
CLEAT issued a statement on Twitter saying, "We are all praying for the @AISDPolice Officer and CLEAT member who was shot in the line of duty today at a high school in Northeast Austin."