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Suspect shot and killed by police after crashing van into school in Florida

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Angie DiMichele

South Florida Sun Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A person driving a van erratically crashed through the gates onto the campus of the Dreyfoos School of the Arts about noon in downtown West Palm Beach, where he was shot and killed by police.

The suspect fled after the crash and ran into a building, where a confrontation occurred between West Palm Beach police and the driver.

The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene after he was shot by an officer. No students were in the auditorium of the building when the shooting occurred.

“An intruder on a school campus crashing through gates, running around an active school campus and acting erratically, will be dealt with appropriately,” said West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles.

The students and staff remained safe but were still under a lockdown as of 2:30 p.m. Friday, and a staggered dismissal plan was going into effect, according to the School District of Palm Beach County.

It was unclear why West Palm Beach police were tracking the van’s driver and why the person was shot.

The school district contacted parents about 12:20 p.m. saying that a single-car accident on the campus was being investigated after an altercation between the West Palm Beach police and the van’s driver, who was described as erratic. Dreyfoos was put into a Code Red lockdown, but parents were assured that all children were safe.

The Code Red was downgraded to a Code Yellow about 1:20 p.m. Friday.

Audrey Dzwill, 15, and Evin Molina, 16, said shortly before noon they were leaving lunch in Building 7 when students suddenly started sprinting into the building. People were yelling out “code red,” which means there’s an intruder, the students said.

Molina and Dzwill, along with other students, fled the building and waited at the nearby Tri-Rail station for about 15 minutes, unsure of what was happening on campus. A teacher came over and moved them to a nearby business building where they waited for about an hour.

Molina and Dzwill were some of the first students to be dismissed shortly before 3 p.m.

”At first I thought it was fake,” Molina said.

He didn’t know something was seriously wrong until a teacher said to run.

The Dreyfoos School of the Arts is Palm Beach County’s top performing arts magnet school, and students from all over the county attend.

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©2022 South Florida Sun Sentinel. Visit at sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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