Freshman finds courage, keeps calm, helps panicked students to safety during shooting

Freshman finds courage, keeps calm, helps panicked students to safety during shooting »Play Video
Reynolds High School freshman Lucas Dehnert helped get panicked students to safety when a student opened fire at the school Tuesday morning, killing freshman Emilio Hoffman.

TROUTDALE, Ore. -- Just a freshman, Lucas Dehnert has the humility to admit he was scared to death when he realized there was a gunman at school.

But the kid also had the guts and the smarts to stay calm. His level head may have helped keep 80 students safe during the shooting at Reynolds High School.

He was just getting to gym class Tuesday morning when he heard the loudspeaker voice announce the lockdown.

“We knew the gunshots were close; we didn’t know how close the gunman was. As soon as the announcement came on everybody started running and panicking. That was my biggest moment of fear,” Lucas told KATU Wednesday.

He said he stayed calm, because that’s what he’s been taught to do by his parents. So he helped steer the 80 students back away from the gunfire and to the other side of the gymnasium into a storage hallway behind locked doors.

“We ran into the back room and closed the doors and everybody’s yelling … so I decided to stand up …” and told everyone to stay calm and keep quiet.

“When everyone listened to me … that’s when I started giving the orders, thinking, let’s get through this … stay calm.”

Students barricaded the doors that led to the gym, not knowing if the shooter would try to get in and not knowing where he was.

“I was just making sure we stayed quiet in case … if the gunman was still roaming around he didn’t hear all these 80 screaming kids and go that direction.”

Thirty minutes later, police knocked on the door.

One day later, Lucas told KATU, “It’s starting to hit me now, just because as I sit here and think about more and more and more thinking about all these scenarios and what could’ve happened.”