Perry principal stable after being shot while protecting students

A law enforcement official walks past the school sign following a shooting at Perry High School, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024, in Perry, Iowa. Multiple people were shot inside the school early Thursday as students prepared to start their first day of classes after their annual winter break, authorities said. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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By Ty Rushing

January 5, 2024

Perry High School Principal Dan Marburger’s daughter said he tried to talk Dylan Butler down before the 17-year-old gunman shot the longtime administrator and five others at the school on Thursday.

Claire Marburger shared this tidbit in a public Facebook post to let everyone know her father was in stable condition. 

“As I heard of a gunman, I instantly had a feeling my Dad would be a victim as he would put himself in harm’s way for the benefit of the kids and his staff,” Claire Marburger wrote. “It is absolutely zero surprise to hear he tried to approach and talk Dylan down and distract him long enough for some students to get out of the cafeteria. That’s just Dad.” 

Dan Marburger, a father of five, has worked for the Perry School District since 1995, according to the Perry Chief. He is originally from Sabula, an eastern Iowa island city on the Mississippi River.

The elder Marburger was one of six people shot by Butler during the incident. A sixth-grade student was killed during the shooting and Butler died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Claire Marburger described her dad, a former football player at Central College in Pella, as “a gentle giant” who gives the best hugs and pats on the back. She also told Local 5 that he would be in and out of surgeries over the next few days and weeks. 

Marburger also asked for people to be considerate of the Butler family.

“Show grace to the Butler family, as we are not our kids’ mistakes and actions or our parents’ mistakes and actions,” she wrote. “Remember this is something Dylan’s family has to live with too, as well as losing their child.”

  • 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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