The son of a city police detective opened fire in a Nebraska high school Wednesday, killing the vice principal, wounding the principal and forcing panicked students to take cover in the kitchen of the building where he had attended classes for no more than two months.
After fleeing the scene, the youth fatally shot himself in his car about a mile away.
The chaos unfolded as students returned from a holiday break.
Authorities said they did not know why Robert Butler Jr., 17, shot the administrators.
Jessica Liberator, a sophomore at Millard South High School, said she was in the cafeteria when another administrator "rushed in to tell everybody to get in the back of the kitchen."
She said she started to cry when students heard a knock on the kitchen door and a cafeteria worker yelled for everybody to get down. It was a false alarm. Nobody came in.
She huddled with Brittany Brase, another sophomore. Asked whether they were best friends, Brase said, "No, not really." But, she added: "She's my best friend now. These things bring you together."
Police Chief Alex Hayes provided no details on the weapon Butler used or how he obtained it.
Butler had transferred in November from a high school in Lincoln.
Principal Curtis Case, 45, was listed in stable condition, but Vice Principal Vicki Kaspar, 58, died hours after being transported to the hospital, authorities said.
Authorities first received reports of the shooting around 12:50 p.m. The school was immediately locked down, but within two hours, students were being released in groups. Parents picked them up at a nearby church.
Crystal Losole, whose son and a nephew are juniors at the school, said she got a call from her son Skyler Marion, while he was hiding in the kitchen.
Hugging him later and weeping, Losole said that, when she learned of the shooting, "My knees kind of buckled."
Her son said he was in the cafeteria when Assistant Principal Brad Millard loudly announced "a code red" and that everybody needed to evacuate immediately.
At first, nobody believed Millard, Skyler said. But when Millard's face turned white, students knew it was no joke.
The high school on the west side of Omaha has about 2,100 students.