Gunfire sends Mobile high school into lockdown

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According to Murphy High School officials, several gunshots were fired from a gun in the hands of a student, which sent the entire campus into lockdown Thursday afternoon.

The quick eye and reaction of several administrators may have saved the lives of hundreds of students and staff on campus.

Minutes after the first lunch bell, a sound of gunfire ignited a sense of panic across campus.

"I'm thinking im going to die, I don't want to die at school," 11th grader Ahanti Cole said.

"My son goes to Murphy and he called and said 'Mom someone is shooting,'" Murphy parent, Yolanda Evans, said.

Murphy High School's principal Joe Toomey said an immediate lockdown protocol was put in place right after an administrator spotted 16-year-old Jonah Neal with a gun.

Right away, three administrators initiated a chase to get Neal off campus, but Toomey says the student suddenly came to the back of the school and pulled out his gun.

"He shot five times, I guess to warn us off, but I can't say enough about their quick action and the things they did that kept this from being a problem," Murphy High School's Principal Joe Toomey said.

Toomey says his administrators were quickly able to catch Neal and get him into police custody.

After learning that all students were safe, loved ones say they felt an instant sigh of relief, but this situation still has them feeling uneasy.

"I said I need to come up here and get my brother as soon as possible because i do not want him around that," Murphy Alumni, Timayia Parker, said, adding "Anything could have happened, he could have got hurt."

After learning from their children that everything was okay, several parents told NBC 15 they were overcome with anger.

"I wondered why no one called from the school," Evans said adding, "When I did get to the school they said they notified everyone through Facebook. I don't think that's the proper way to do it."

NBC 15 took parent's concerns straight to Principal Toomey.

"Well that would be a mistake. I can show you records," Toomey said.

Principal Toomey showed us the Facebook post and the recorded audio message sent to all school emergency phone numbers on file. Then, he showed us the spread sheet showing how many parents the audio message reached.

"I had 1,108 parents that answered, 11 came up as busy, 94 people who blocked it, and the message went to 998 machines," Toomey pointed out.

Officials encourage parents to update the school on any new emergency contact numbers so they can keep you in the know.

Additionally, Toomey and Mobile County Public School Superintendennt Martha Peek report that Neal had an issue over the weekend with several other Murphy High School students.

On Monday, the school was alerted of this issue and took steps to resolve the problem then.