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Superintendent: Enough harm has been done, it’s time to heal

Published: Friday, January 20, 2017 @ 7:47 AM

West Liberty-Salem officials discuss last week's shooting.

UPDATE @ 4:45 p.m.: 

The students also watched a video of victim Logan Cole and discussed the shooting in class Tuesday.

UPDATE @ 10 a.m. (Jan. 24)

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Students returned to West Liberty-Salem school in good spirits today, according to 

Kraig Hissong, the school district superintendent during a news conference this morning. 

“In general today the students came in with smiling faces,” he said.

Hissong expressed gratitude to the community, local school districts and law enforcement agencies. 

“We cannot thank our community enough for their thoughts and prayers,” Hissong said. 

West Liberty-Salem students return to school


WEST LIBERTY — Students will return to West Liberty-Salem school today after a fellow classmate fired a weapon injuring two students last week. 

  • West Liberty-Salem school was closed on Monday so faculty and staff could meet to prepare for students to return on Tuesday. 
  • Students will have a 1-hour delayed start time today to allow teachers and counselors to work with students and discuss Friday’s shooting. 
  • Law enforcement officers will greet students this morning and additional staff will be present on school buses. 

These additional measures were designed to help students feel safe and comfortable when they return to school, Hissong said.

“It is our goal to make tomorrow a day of healing,” said West Liberty-Salem Superintendent Kraig Hissong during a news conference on Monday.

Kraig Hissong, superintendent of West Liberty Schools, makes a statement to the press Monday regarding Friday's shooting.

Court hearing for shooting suspect

The court ruled Ely Ray Serna, 17, will continue to be detained during a hearing Champaign County Juvenile Court Monday morning.The Champaign County Prosecutor’s Office said Serna is a danger to the community and himself, and asked the court to continue to detain the suspect in the West Liberty-Salem High School shooting.

During a News Center 7 interview, Paige Serna, the sister of the teenager accused in the shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School, said, “I just want everyone to know he’s not a monster.... He made a mistake.”

  • Prosecutors are seeking to prosecute Ely Ray Serna as an adult. 
  • Serna was taken into custody Friday morning. 
  • Serna is being held in a juvenile detention center. 

Serna, faces numerous charges, including two counts of attempted murder; three counts of felonious assault; six counts of improperly discharging a firearm; and single counts of inducing panic and illegal conveyance of a deadly weapon in a school, according to the county prosecutor’s office. 

Serna will appear in court one day before classes resume at West Liberty-Salem, according to the school district’s website.

Champaign County Sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant on Serna’s home on Saturday.

The shooting victims

West Liberty-Salem High School student Logan Cole, who was shot multiple times by a shotgun on Friday morning school shooting, is showing progress, according to family members.

On Monday, Hissong said Cole’s condition continues to improve. 

Cole’s father Ryan posted a message on Facebook Saturday night saying his son was moved out of ICU at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Earlier, Ryan Cole posted on social media that doctors removed a breathing tube. 

Also Saturday, officials revealed that another student, a 17-year-old who was not named, was hit by part of a shot but was not seriously injured. 

Ryan Cole said his son has 70 to 80 shotgun pellets in his body, including two in his spinal canal. His backbone took a lot of impact from one of the shots and he will need to wear a neck and back brace for months as his bones heal. He also has lung damage and three broken teeth from hitting the floor, his father posted. 

Logan Cole is talking, and one of the first things he asked was that his family pray for his shooter. The suspect was identified on Satuday as 17-year-old West Liberty-Salem senior Ely Serna. Prosecutors say they will seek to have him tried as an adult. 

Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus released this statement provided by the family of victim Logan Cole: 

“We are thankful for the Lord’s protective hand on our son. We are also grateful for the outpouring of support from our family, friends, and community. We would like to ask for continued prayers for Logan. Also, we’d like to encourage prayer for the community, the other student, and his family. We are certain they have been deeply hurt as well. We are confident that God has a purpose and plan through this tragedy.”

A call for help

A 911 caller told the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office that four shots were fired during a school shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School on Friday.

Caller: “Hi we’re at West Liberty-Salem High School and there’s a shooter.” 

Dispatcher: “There’s a shooter at West Liberty?” 

Caller “Yes. West Liberty-Salem High School.” 

The caller, possibly a female student, said they heard two shots, then her teacher went out to the hallway. The caller said the shots came from the wing with math classrooms and the boy’s bathroom. 

“Please hurry, please hurry,” she told the dispatcher. “We’re hurrying, OK? We’re sending everybody that we can, OK?” the dispatcher said. 

The caller said they heard at least two more shots, with one going through the window, and that students and staff were running and were going out the window to get out of the building. The shooter was inside, she told the dispatcher.

The initial report of shots fired came in at 7:36 a.m. on Friday.

RELATED: 5 things to know about West Liberty

The shooting happened during the beginning of the school day, according to the superintendent. Once they were notified of an active shooter, they ran, got into rooms and barricaded rooms. Students and staff also ran from the school. 

“I can’t say how pleased I am with how staff and students handled this today,” Hissong said. 

Hissong reported all students on site at school were safe. Students were evacuated to Lyons Park in West Liberty where parents could pick them up. 

Hissong asked for patience in getting students evacuated to the park, noting they need to take their time. 

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Ely Serna

West Liberty shooting victim wasn't targeted, more harm was intended


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