Casey’s staff shelters students fleeing Perry school shooting

A Casey's General Store in Perry where students fleeing a school shooting hid. Photo by Pat Rynard/Starting Line

By Ty Rushing

January 4, 2024

A Casey’s General Store in Perry became a place of refuge for several students Thursday morning after a gunman opened fire at nearby Perry High School.

Store Manager Jocelyn Kirchner said she received a call at 7:30 a.m. about what was transpiring at the high school. Several students had fled from the facility and went to Casey’s, which is about a 10-minute walk southwest of the school.

“I made my assistant manager lock the door with the children and go to the back. We’ve been on lockdown until about half an hour ago” Kirchner said at 10:52 a.m.

Perry is a town of about 8,000 residents and Kirchner said it’s a tight-knit community.

“Children that we knew—that were scared—came here because they knew they were safe,” Kirchner said.

The store also delivered free pizzas to a downtown community center that served as a reunification point for Perry students and their families.

Casey’s wasn’t the only business that sheltered people. Kirchner said Rainbow International, a water restoration company, also took in people fleeing the school.

“They had at least a hundred staff and students,” she said.

Overall, Kirchner described the day as “frantic, scary, and sad.”

“It’s scary and it’s just starting to unfold. We still don’t know who’s alive and who’s hurt and we have no idea why,” she said.

 

Overall, Kirchner described the day as “frantic, scary, and sad.”

“It’s scary and it’s just starting to unfold. We still don’t know who’s alive and who’s hurt and we have no idea why,” she said.e

  • Ty Rushing

    Ty Rushing is the Chief Political Correspondent for Iowa Starting Line. He is a trail-blazing veteran Iowa journalist, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and co-founder and president of the Iowa Association of Black Journalists. Send tips or story ideas to [email protected] and find him on social media @Rushthewriter.

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