Police kill would-be school intruder thwarted by secured doors, quick law enforcement response

Observers comparing incident to Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting in which gunman thought to have entered elementary school through unsecured door

Updated: June 10, 2022 - 12:52pm

Police in Alabama on Thursday morning fatally shot a man who was trying to enter an elementary school in the city of Gadsen while classes were in session, according to local news reports.

The incident began when a resident spotted the man trying to forcibly enter the Walnut Park Elementary School and looking into cars. 

The deceased man has been identified as 32-year-old Robert Tyler White, who reportedly could not get into the school because the doors were secured. He then tried to forcibly enter the patrol car of the school’s resource officer. 

When the officer attempted to stop White, he reportedly tried to grab the officer’s gun, which resulted in a struggle and White being fatally shot after Gadsden Police Department officers responded to the scene to provide assistance. 

News reports also state the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is now investigating an officer-involved shooting. However, the agency has yet to say whether the school resource officer or a Gadsden officer shot White. 

Whether White was armed also is unclear. 

However, observers are comparing the incident to the May 24 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which the gunman is thought to have entered an elementary school through an unsecured door before killing 19 students and two teachers.

They also point to the school resource officer and Gadsden police officers’ quick response, compared to law enforcement in Uvalde who reportedly waited as long as 60 minutes before entering the school, in which the shooter had barricaded himself in a classroom with students, before killing him.