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Principal critically injured in fatal Iowa school shooting, police say

Authorities in Perry, Iowa, called the shooting a "horrific act" and identified the victim who was killed in the attack.
Vehicles sit parked in a lot outside of Perry High School.
Posted at 6:35 PM, Jan 05, 2024

A school shooting in the town of Perry, Iowa, has rocked a community after a sixth-grade student was killed and several others were wounded in the attack in the small town just outside of Des Moines.

Police had earlier reported that at least five people were wounded in the attack. On Friday night, authorities said that number had risen to at least seven people in total who sustained injuries.

The injured included three staff members and four students. 

Town officials and residents gathered at Perry's Hotel Pattee including representatives of the Perry Community School District, along with the Heartland Area Education Agency to speak to the community and the media. 

The Iowa State Medical Examiner identified the victim killed in the shooting as 11-year-old Perry Middle School student Ahmir Jolliff. The autopsy found that Jolliff sustained a total of three gunshot wounds. His death was ruled a homicide. 

The 17-year-old shooter, who was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, was also identified. His cause of death was officially ruled as a death by suicide. 

Iowa student describes escaping school shooting
Police respond to the scene of a school shooting in Perry, Iowa, on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024

Iowa student describes escaping school shooting

Scripps News spoke with a student who was present in the building at the time of the shooting.


Perry High School Principal Dan Marburger suffered multiple gunshot wounds and remained in critical condition in a hospital, authorities said. 

A statement from authorities said, "The investigation thus far confirms Principal Marburger acted selflessly and placed himself in harm’s way in an apparent effort to protect his students."

In their investigation, detectives said they seized "large volumes" of "digital and social media evidence" and said police are going through that evidence in their probe to understand how the shooter came to commit such a violent act. The Dallas County Attorney’s Office will determine if any action or charges will apply or be filed. 

Superintendent of Schools for the Perry Community School District Clark Wicks said on Friday that schools will be closed all of next week, and elementary and middle school students are scheduled to return the following week. 

Students will still be provided with a grab-and-go lunch even though classes are closed and the mayor announced a fund that was set up to help those impacted by the shooting.