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Two students shot in Ohio school cafeteria, teen arrested

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 1/03/2016 Jason Silverstein with Nicole Hensley

An Ohio eighth-grade student opened fire in a school cafeteria Monday morning, shooting two students and injuring two others before he ran off and was arrested, police said.

The shooting happened at Madison Junior/Senior High School in Middletown around 11:30 a.m., moments after a sheriff's deputy stationed in the school stepped out of the cafeteria, police said.

Other students were eating in the cafeteria at the time, and officers found "a lot of trays" abandoned when they arrived on scene, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said in a press conference.

Authorities later released chilling 911 calls, which captured the terror students felt as gunshots rang out.

“I’m at Madison High School, there’s a shooting,” an out-of-breath boy is heard on a 911 call. “A kid brought a gun and he started shooting people.”

Two students — Cameron Smith, 15, and Cooper Caffrey, 14 — were shot, police said. Two others — Brant Murray and Katherine Doucette, both 14 — were injured by shrapnel. Helicopters airlifted two of the victims to a hospital. All are expected to survive, officials said.

The gunfire was unexpected, the flustered emergency caller told a dispatcher.

“He just pulled out a gun and started shooting,” he said.

Parents run to see if they are allowed to pick up their kids at Madison Local Schools. - Cara Owsley/AP: Police set up a perimeter outside Madison Local Schools. © Cara Owsley/AP Photo Police set up a perimeter outside Madison Local Schools. The suspected shooter, 14-year-old James Austin Hancock, used a .380 caliber handgun, police said. After the shooting, he dropped the weapon, ran out of the school and fled through nearby fields until officers tracked him down in a wooded area within minutes.

Hancock faces juvenile charges for now, but he will be charged with felony attempted murder, Jones said.

The prosecutors could ultimately decide to charge the student as an adult.

Terrified parents bolted to the school after learning of the shooting.

“The most horrifying thing is how to get to your children fast enough,” said Stephanie Doucette, the mother of shooting victim Katherine Doucette.

“She’s still kind of shock that it happened,” Doucette told WLWT-TV. “She’s known these kids ... even the shooter.”

Police have an "idea of a motive" but will not yet release it, Jones said. Police would not say whether the shooting victims were targeted or not and authorities are working to determine where Hancock got the gun.

Hancock, who uses Austin as his first name, is on the school wrestling team, as is Caffrey, one of the boy’s he is accused of shooting, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

“We were actually pretty good friends," fellow wrestler Jordan Eslick told the newspaper. "It didn’t seem like anything was wrong. He got along with everyone. I was really shocked when I heard it was him.

“He’s real nice. He’s friendly with everyone,” Eslick said. “Everyone on the wrestling team is really close, we’re actually pretty much family … we share everything with each other.”

Parents run to see if they are allowed to pick up their kids at Madison Local Schools. - Nick Graham/AP: Parents run to see if they are allowed to pick up their kids. © Nick Graham/AP Photo Parents run to see if they are allowed to pick up their kids. The shooting put Madison High School and several nearby schools under lockdown for more than an hour. The lockdowns ended by 1 p.m. and the district canceled classes for the day, eventually allowing parents to pick up their children. 

About 250 junior high students and 500 high school students attend Madison, according to the district. 

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