Rockton students recall shooter lockdown on White House visit

Print Article

Photo provided Seventy Stephen Mack Middle School students and four chaperones were in Washington, D.C. over the weekend, and are shown posing at the Jefferson Memorial. During a trip to the White House, students were put on lockdown when a man shot himself shortly before noon on Saturday.

ROCKTON - Seventy Stephen Mack Middle School eighth graders and four chaperones on a trip to Washington, D.C., experienced a terrifying 13 minutes Saturday as the White House was locked down when a shooter was found on its grounds.

As Cameron Ross Burgess, 26, of Maylene, Alabama, shot and killed himself in front of the White House shortly before noon Saturday, the Rockton students were scrambled to safety during a chaotic and terrifying situation.

Eighth grader Audra Wishop said she started feeling something was off when she was getting her picture taken in the East Room, in front of the North Lawn. She recalled hearing a security guard say, "I need a location" and an agent respond "on the north lawn."

An agent then shouted for the students to go back to where they came from, and the students started heading downstairs.

"People were saying it was just a drill. But then they bolted the doors and you could see Secret Service agents around the windows setting up a perimeter. They started evacuating us and telling us to run," Wishop said. "I was completely scared."

Wishop said she was texting her family during the incident while other tourists were taking videos of a perimeter being set up around the White House.

"They had huge guns," Wishop said.

Wishop said the students were evacuated, but didn't realize what had happened until they got on the bus and started searching for news articles on the incident.

"I called my mom and told her what happened and she was just as scared," Wishop said.

Laura Zimmerman, tour director and teacher, said the students reacted very bravely in a scary situation. Some students were asked to lie on the ground as Secret Service agents were shaking doors, ensuring they were locked. They were told to put away their phones, although many people inside the White House were using them.

Zimmerman said it was terrifying as no one knew what was happening.

"We didn't know if someone was trying to get in. They told us nothing but to be quiet," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said agents didn't know how many people were shooting as there were several rounds fired. The man who committed suicide reportedly shot his phone before shooting himself.

Once students were evacuated and they met across the street, Zimmerman said all 70 of them were there.

"The kids handled it so well. They didn't panic or scream. They stayed with us and did a great job," Zimmerman said.

Print Article

Read More Front Page Slider

Officers grow through ranks to become one big family

September 21, 2018 at 9:52 am | ROSCOE - For over two decades, the Roscoe Police Department has been home to three familiar faces who have grown up together through the ranks. Chief Jamie Evans, Deputy Chief Derek Lee and Detectiv...

Comments

Read More

The reward of being kind

September 21, 2018 at 9:41 am | BELOIT - One of the kindest and most helpful kids at Robinson Elementary School had a big surprise Thursday afternoon. Second grader Samuel Serrano won a new bicycle donated by McNeel Middle School ...

Comments

Read More

DBA Oktoberfest celebrating five years

September 20, 2018 at 9:05 am | BELOIT - Ladies: it's time to dust off the dirndl dresses. Gentlemen: be sure to put on your best lederhosen. Oktoberfest, a family-friendly Downtown Beloit Association (DBA) event featuring live mu...

Comments

Read More

Volunteers roll up their sleeves for United Way's annual Day of Caring

September 20, 2018 at 8:44 am | BELOIT - "Giving back to the community is the most important thing you can do." That's how one volunteer described the United Way Blackhawk Region's Day of Caring 2018 on Wednesday which featured v...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2018 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X