Crime Watch 8

Mary Castle early learning center, elementary school closed Monday after shooting in parking lot

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An early learning center and an elementary school in Lawrence Township schools will be closed to students on Monday after a domestic-related shooting on school property, the district said Sunday.

In a letter to district families, Superintendent Shawn Smith said “the decision of one person shook the community,” in reference to a Friday afternoon shooting in the parking lot of the Early Learning Center at Mary Castle, which shares a campus with Mary Castle Elementary School.

Smith said “an estranged family member” came to the campus “with the sole purpose of taking the life of the mother of a young child receiving special services.” Police on Friday said one person was found with a gunshot wound and taken to a hospital in critical condition.

No students or staff were injured, and classes were dismissed early after being on lockdown, the school said Friday.

Smith said, “Our children were protected and the life of the victim saved by the swift action of staff and first responders.”

The early learning center and the elementary school will be back open Tuesday “for a supportive and safe re-entry” for students. There will not be virtual instruction on Monday, and staff should report for work as usual, the district said in a message on its website.

Full letter from Superintendent Smith:

Dear Lawrence Community,

The MSD of Lawrence Township is a strong community in a large metropolitan area serving almost 16,000 students daily and they represent the foundation of our excellence. As community patrons, we make choices and take actions daily to better the community in which we live and work. However, the decision of one person shook our community.

On Friday, an estranged family member came to the ELC Mary Castle campus with the sole purpose of taking the life of the mother of a young child receiving special services. This terrible act lends itself to a number of questions. These are not questions for the school district to answer. Rather they are questions that we need to ask of ourselves and of society-at-large. As a community, we must take back our streets and public institutions. We must speak daily of the outstanding students we educate, and not those who seek to destroy our community.

During this unfortunate incident, we remained in complete control. The immediate response from faculty, students, and first responders was incredible. Our children were protected and the life of the victim saved by the swift action of staff and first responders. We are grateful for the outstanding response of district security and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in quickly securing the scene, so that students could be safety released to their parents.

As we move forward, we must speak to Lawrence Excellence, not this incident. We are a powerful community, and one that celebrates our ability to offer comprehensive programming for all students. While powerful, we cannot do it alone. Parents and patrons, we both thank you and need you! We must embrace our schools and community. It is simple to point out what the problems are in society, but we cannot and will not allow them to destroy one of the top school communities in the State of Indiana. Any concerns or issues must be reported and shared. Together, we will achieve excellence for our children.

Dr. Shawn A. Smith, superintendent of Lawrence Township schools

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