JACKSONVILLE, FL: Episcopal School headmaster killed in murder-suicide

david at virtueonline.org david at virtueonline.org
Fri Mar 9 23:15:13 EST 2012


JACKSONVILLE, FL: Episcopal School headmaster killed in murder-suicide

by News4Jax.com 
March 6, 2012

Dale Regan, the head of Episcopal School of Jacksonville was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon by a teacher who had been fired earlier in the day. That teacher then turned the gun on himself.

"We have full confidence that Dale Regan is already with God and in heaven with our Lord and savior Jesus, but we ask for your prayers as we mourn this great leader," said Kate Morehead, dean of Episcopal Cathedral.

Regan had worked at the school for 34 years and had been headmaster for seven years.

Police said the man, whose name has not been released, came on campus with an AK-47 in a guitar case, went to the administrative office, shot Regan several times, then killed himself.

Police and firefighters called to reports of gunfire on campus found the bodies about 1:30 p.m.

"No children were involved, we believe, and no one is in danger," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda said within 30 minutes of the shooting.

Teacher Carolyn Cooper said she heard five gunshots.

"I think our headmaster was killed today, and I think it was an unhappy teacher that was fired this morning (that shot her)," Cooper said.

WATCH: Continuing live coverage of shooting IMAGES: Murder-suicide at Episcopal School

"Another teacher came in and said, 'Go to a small office on the side and hide,'" a student said. "A lot of people were crying and freaking out, but the teachers stayed calm."

A student told Channel 4 he was in class when a teacher said something serious had happened, told them to stay inside and closed the blinds.

"My heart immediately started racing," Dave Steel said after getting a text from his son. "All I could think of was the worst and come and get my son immediately to make sure he was safe."

Another parent, Shoran Williams, rushed to the school after getting a call from her husband.

"All we knew was there was a shooting and the school was on lockdown," Williams said. "My concern, initially, was for my daughter because I didn't know."

The campus was put on lockdown with multiple police units responding, but parents were allowed to pick up their children on their normal schedule.

Episcopal School sent a message to parents assuring them that all parents are safe and that pickup would proceed normally, and that the school will remain closed for the rest of the week and will reopen on March 19, after spring break.

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Two fatally shot in apparent murder-suicide at Episcopal High School; no students harmed

The Florida Times-Union March 6, 2012

Two people have been fatally shot in an apparent murder-suicide at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville. No students were involved or injured.

A Times-Union photographer has heard the shooting involved a maintenance man and an administrator, but that could not be confirmed. A local lawyer told the Times-Union he was told the shooter was a fired Spanish teacher who entered the administration area with a semi-automatic weapon in a guitar case, then opened fire on possibly the principal. That could also not be confirmed.

Fire Department Spokesman Tom Francis said the call came about 1:30 p.m. at the school at 4455 Atlantic Boulevard. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is dispatching homicide detectives to the scene and a media staging area has been established.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda said the call came at 1:23 p.m. as a report of someone on campus with a firearm with shots fired. Police found two people dead. 

School officials were not immediately available to comment. The Sheriff's Office sent out an email at 2 p.m. for Episcopal parents to "respond to the normal pick up location."

Another email from the Sheriff's Office said, "The situation is under control. At this time there is no outstanding suspects."

Traffic has backed up several blocks on Atlantic Boulevard leading into the school. There are also several parents arriving at the school on foot.

Many people are on their cellphones, being overheard talking to people they know seeking information about the shooting or giving updates themselves about the traffic.

Bujeda was seen leading two students from the school and away from the media.

The region's Bishop and other Episcopal clergy are converging on the school to provide chaplaincy and counseling services if they are needed, said the Rev. Kurt Dunkle, rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Orange Park. 

"One of the great gifts of being part of a larger church, which we call a diocese, is that when you need your colleagues, they show up," Dunkle said. 

Dunkle knows. In 2009, one of the family's of his church's school suffered a murder suicide in which two children were shot to death by their father.

Dunkle said he was in a meeting with the Right Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard when they got word of the shootings today. Howard is the spiritual leader of the Jacksonville-based Episcopal Diocese of Florida.  "The first thing he did was say we have to be there,'" Dunkle said.  The first thing Dunkle did was call to check on the wellbeing of his daughter, who is a senior at the school. He said she was fine and that students will start being released around 2:30

Many police cars are at the scene of the school, whose driveway is partially blocked off with police tape.

Episcopal parent Ryan Sandoval is one of the hundreds of parents stuck in a traffic jam stuck in the school's entrance. Sandoval said his wife told him about the shooting and he immediately went to the school.

"I was flabbergasted. You don't expect that here," Sandoval said.

Shoran Williams has a daughter in the school. She said she was told by her husband about the shooting and had to park down the street and walk in. Her daughter was beind led out to safety at that point.

"How any parent would feel?" Williams said. "This is her school. It's not what you'd want to happen at any school."

Relieved parent Kavitha Dantuluri said, "My son is okay. I heard from him 20 minutes after it happened."

The Times-Union has reporters and photographers en route.

Here's a little information about the school from its website, which has yet to post anything about the shooting:

--Episcopal enrolls approximately 900 students annually in grades 6-12. The Middle School has 300 students and the Upper School 600 students.

--Episcopal's main campus, the Munnerlyn Campus, is situated on 56 acres along the south bank of the St. Johns River in central Jacksonville. 2.1 miles to the east of the Munnerlyn Campus is Episcopal's 28-acre Knight Sports Complex, located along the banks of the Arlington River

--The student-to-teacher ratio is 10/1; the average class size is 17

--Episcopal offers 21 AP and 19 Honors classes. In 2009, 84% of Episcopal students who took Advanced Placement exams passed with a score of 3 or higher; 91 students earned a perfect score.

--Episcopal employs 90 faculty: 100% of which have 4-year degrees or higher, 65% have graduate degrees, and 3% have earned a Ph.D. The average teaching tenure for faculty members is 19.75 years.

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Update from Episcopal High School
March 6, 2012

The Episcopal Community is deeply saddened to share with you that Dale Regan, Episcopal's Head of School, died this afternoon. Our deepest sympathies are with her family and we ask for your support and prayers during this time. The entire School family mourns the loss of our friend and leader.

All students and faculty are safe and our campus is secure. The School will remain closed from today through the already scheduled spring break until March 19th. The School will provide counseling and pastoral care to its students, faculty, staff and to those in our School community.

The School will continue to provide updates and more information as it becomes available.

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http://www.esj.org/news/detail.aspx?pageaction=ViewSinglePublic&LinkID=729&ModuleID=11&NEWSPID=1

Tuesday Night Vigil Information Posted March 6, 2012

Vigils will be held tonight at the following locations:

St. Johns Cathedral at 7 p.m.

St. Mark's Episcopal Church at 7 p.m.

San Jose Episcopal Church at 6 p.m.


 



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