Hundreds of people gathered in Noblesville Saturday night for a prayer vigil, one day after a shooting at an area middle school that injured two.
Police say a male student at Noblesville West Middle School fired several shots in a seventh grade classroom Friday morning. The unidentified student is in police custody.
Noblesville residents tearfully prayed for the community and for the two people injured in the shooting. Ella Whistler, 13, is in critical but stable condition at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
Seventh grade teacher Jason Seaman was shot three times as he reportedly tackled the alleged shooter. Seaman was treated at Methodist Hospital and later released.
At the vigil Saturday, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R-Ind.) says Seaman is an "overnight hero."
"To know that Jason put others before himself is not a surprise – I’ve found out – to anyone that knows him, I’m so proud that Jason is a Hoosier," Holcomb says.
Holcomb promised the crowd that the entire state of Indiana is standing behind them.
“We will bring more than the all-powerful prayers that we will be raining down – we will bring every resource we have,” Holcomb says.
The vigil itself was a community effort, thrown together in a few hours. Noblesville Schools Superintendent Beth Niedermeyer says the size of the crowd speaks volumes about the community.
"For us to come together as a community and start to heal – and that's what this event did today," Niedermeyer says.
Indiana State Police Superintedent Douglas Carter echoed that sentiment. He says the community has to help the students returning to the classroom.
“Don’t let them go back with fear, let them go back with hope," Carter says. "And if that happens, this world starts to change one beat at a time.”
Patti Hall is a Noblesville High School alumna. Her niece attends Noblesville West Middle School. She says, the preparation from the school district saved lives.
"And I hope and I pray that schools around the nation look at this, and focus on what we can do better to protect – to protect our kids," Hall says.
U.S. Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) joined community leaders at the vigil with Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Carmel).
Faith leaders led the crowd in prayer for students and teachers throughout the district. All schools except Noblesville West Middle School will return to school on Tuesday. Students will have access to counselors at the high school on Monday.
WFIU/WTIU's Becca Costello contributed to this story.