Dixon, home to Ronald Reagan as a child, has witnessed its share of turmoil over time – something which was undoubtedly true on Wednesday afternoon.
Dixon High School was placed into lockdown after one of its students brought a firearm into Lancaster Gymnasium, where seniors had gathered for a graduation rehearsal. When this student fired at school resource officer Mark Dallas, he returned fire, wounding him.
Officer Mark Dallas Saved Lives
Dixon, Illinois, will honor Officer Mark Dallas – a school resource officer who foiled a 19-year-old former student from opening fire during their graduation rehearsal on Sunday – by naming a portion of a street after them. Dixon High School students cheered and applauded their hero with applause as they received their diplomas, shaking his hand or hugging him as they did so.
Police believe Matthew Milby opened fire around 8 am Wednesday at Dixon High School, according to Sauk Valley Media. The suspect entered a gym where 182 seniors were practicing for their graduation ceremony this Sunday and fired several shots, according to Chief Steven Howell in a press conference. Dallas pursued him, exchanging gunfire outside and inside before finally returning fire inside and hitting him twice – according to Howell’s account, remaining hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Dallas credits his training for helping to save lives during the shooting. “I was thinking only of the children,” he told CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley. He paused briefly as he spoke of what had occurred, wiping away tears before saying how he had seen all these seniors develop over time and that he considered them his family members.
Dixon also applauded Mark Dallas’ swift response to the school shooting. Our school resource officer, Mark Dallas, heard gunshots and immediately responded without concern for his safety, according to their manager’s statement. We thank Mark Dallas for being such a hero in our community and appreciate his service.”
President Trump also honored Dixon Police Officer Mark Dallas for his actions during the school shooting, recognizing him with the International Association of Chiefs of Police Officer of the Year award, according to Fox News. Dallas will attend Tuesday’s State of the Union address in Washington with Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL 16). Both representatives are scheduled to meet with the award recipient of their International Association of Chiefs of Police Officer of the Year award as well.
Suspect Matthew Milby Was Bullied
Mark Dallas of Dixon High School has been widely recognized as a hero after stopping 19-year-old suspect Matthew Milby from injuring anyone else during an Illinois high school shooting this week. Milby opened fire during graduation rehearsals on Wednesday morning, according to police, forcing students into classrooms for safety before barricading the doors with desks, bookcases, and more in response. When Dallas saw Milby coming toward him, he chased and fired back – wounding Milby while taking him into custody himself.
Police arrested a suspect for three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, with additional charges potentially filed against them in the near future, according to Lee County Jail officials. He remains held under a $2 Million bond and is expected to appear in court Friday morning.
Milby’s mother, Julie, attended a press conference following his arrest and noted she did not understand his behavior but did point out how his “kindness got taken as weakness,” along with prior instances of bullying at school. Additionally, Julie noted she had no idea how Milby had obtained the gun he had brought into school.
Dr. Michael Grady of Dixon High School reported to reporters that an unknown individual opened fire inside and near the gymnasium where seniors were practicing for their graduation ceremony rehearsal. Grady heard more shots outside before seeing Dixon police officer Mark Dallas run after someone. Grady says he ran from his office upon observing Dallas pursue the shooter, so, in order to alert students immediately of this threat, he warned students that it would soon be time for them to vacate the building.
Senior Tyler Adcock told media representatives that he knew Milby but did not know him well and found him “kind of secluded.” When peering into the gym to see what was going on, Adcock noticed Milby looked “normal.”
At the sentencing hearing for a shooting suspect, one of his half-sisters testified that their mother was physically and psychologically abusive to all their siblings; she stated this abuse worsened after they moved out.
Milby’s Mother Says He Was Lonely
Dixon High School students and residents are reeling after what happened at the high school on Wednesday morning when 19-year-old Matthew Milby fired shots near a gymnasium full of graduating seniors who were practicing for this weekend’s graduation ceremonies. Milby then engaged a school resource officer in a gunfire exchange before being shot himself by him and taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Mark Dallas has been widely recognized as a hero following the shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary. On Thursday, he addressed his community for the first time since then.
He said he knew both the suspect and his mother well, having coached his son before and even spending one night together. On the day of the shooting, he arrived at school early and was sitting in the sports office when he heard shots outside, saw someone running away carrying a weapon, and ran outside himself to see who it was before realizing it was an adult male. “When I ran outside, I could clearly see that it was an individual.”
Dallas police officer Bryan Williams told reporters he chased after the shooter because it was part of his training to do so. Williams wasn’t wearing protective gear when chasing after the suspect; rather he used plain clothing rather than a bulletproof vest when chasing after the gunman. If not for Williams running after him – “he would likely have killed himself or somebody else,” according to him.
Dixon is a small town about 100 miles west of Chicago that takes pride in being Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home a century ago and is famous for the scandal in which its comptroller siphoned off almost $54 million from town bank accounts. Now residents are wondering why an otherwise ordinary and friendly student went on a shooting spree at his school last Friday; police say some indicators point towards why this could have happened; loneliness may have played a part; another was getting beat up by another student back in October; finally, some say he felt excluded by classmates when being attacked by someone ostracized from everyone around him by many classmates as being singled out and isolated by many classmates as being alone could explain it all.
Milby’s Attorney Says He Was Violent
As Dixon grapples with how 19-year-old Matthew Milby managed to shoot into an auditorium packed of seniors during graduation practice and exchange gunfire with a school resource officer, we are learning more about him. While still being held in custody for the attempted murder of a police officer and discharging a firearm at a school employee, his mother told reporters Wednesday that Matthew suffered from depression and anxiety for some time before being bullied because of his weight and appearance by classmates.
At Milby’s bond hearing, Lee County state’s attorney Jon Anderson announced that, if released from jail, he must not contact Mark Dallas or Andrew McKay and cannot approach Dixon High School within 100 yards. Attorney Thomas Murray, who represents Milby, claims he knows him to be a “nice kid,” with no prior violence history but who suffers from an undisclosed mental disorder, which leads him to violence and self-harm.
An ex-Dix police officer testified that he knew Milby for years. He claimed he was familiar with his family, coaching his son in baseball. When told he planned on using a firearm at school, this news shocked him greatly.
Students speaking outside the courtroom told reporters they had been in a gym with 150 other students when they heard what sounded like firecrackers and were immediately evacuated and brought to a National Guard armory, where they were advised to take cover when an officer came running toward them – they thought this might have been part of an active shooter drill; only when they heard an officer screaming and shooting at an individual suspected of an active shooter incident did they realize what had indeed occurred.
Dallas, who was widely recognized for his bravery following the incident, addressed reporters outside of the courtroom and stated he didn’t like being called out as the town hero, yet that his response that day was nothing short of heroic and that he deserves all of the credit that has come his way.