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updated: 9/7/2012 1:19 PM

Student in custody after shots fired in downstate school

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Associated Press

NORMAL -- A 14-year-old male student is in custody after shots were fired Friday morning into a classroom ceiling at a central Illinois high school, police and school officials said.

No one was hurt in the incident at Normal Community High School in Normal, school officials said. The town is adjacent to Bloomington, about 135 miles southwest of Chicago.

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Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner told WGLT radio in Bloomington that the boy had been taken into custody. The chief declined to say whether a gun was pointed at anyone in the school and police didn't return calls to The Associated Press.

Other details were not immediately available. An afternoon news conference was scheduled.

Teachers led the school's 1,800 students on foot to a nearby church where parents were told to pick up their children, according to the school district. Students were allowed to leave one by one as parents provided photo identification.

Seventeen-year-old Justin Carrel is a junior at the school and lives with relatives in Normal. His mother Janet Chick lives and works almost three hours away in Lebanon, Ind. Chick told The Associated Press she had yet to talk to her son and that the distance just heightened her anxiety.

"I'm waiting by the phone," she said. "You never think this is going to happen to your children's school."

In a recorded message sent to parents via the school's electronic alert system, McLean County Unit District 5 Superintendent Gary C. Niehaus tried to ease concerns.

"Earlier this morning a student fired shots into the ceiling at Normal Community High School," he said. "All the students are safe."

Early reports indicated that two students were in custody but police later said other students were only questioned.

Police said they considered the whole campus a crime scene, forbidding students who drove to the school to drive their vehicles away. Bleichner expected that situation to change as the day progressed.

"Everything is locked down right now, including the street around the school," he said. "Over the next couple of hours we anticipate bringing the perimeter in."

Classes continued as usual elsewhere in the area Friday, according to the district. Normal Community High School's Friday night football game against MacArthur High School in Decatur was postponed until Saturday.

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