On Thursday, January 4, 2024, a tragic shooting took place at Perry High School in rural Iowa, leaving one sixth-grade student dead and five others injured, including the school’s principal.
The gunman, 17-year-old Dylan Butler, a student at the school, armed himself with a pump-action shotgun, a small-caliber handgun, and a makeshift explosive device, which he had not yet detonated at the time of his death. The incident occurred at 7:47 a.m., just before the start of the school day, and Butler ultimately took his own life.
According to community members, Butler had been a victim of persistent bullying since elementary school, and the situation had recently escalated to involve his younger sister. One family who knew Butler described him as a quiet person who had been enduring bullying for years. They stated that the bullying had taken a toll on him, and he finally snapped when his younger sister became a target as well.
In the leadup to the shooting, Butler had posted a cryptic video on social media, suggesting that he had been planning the attack. The video, which was later deleted, showed him in a school bathroom stall with a caption that read “now we wait,” accompanied by the song “Stray Bullet” by the rock group KMFDM, known for its ominous lyrics.
The incident has left the community in shock and mourning, with one of the survivors in critical condition. The motive behind Butler’s actions remains unclear, and the authorities are continuing their investigation into the tragic event.
The shooting has reignited discussions about school safety and the impact of bullying on students’ mental health. It has also raised questions about the accessibility of firearms, as Iowa does not require a permit to purchase a handgun or carry a firearm in public, although a background check is mandated for handgun purchases without a permit.The Easton Valley Community School District, where the shooting took place, expressed deep sorrow over the violence and extended their thoughts to the Perry community as they grapple with the aftermath of the traumatic event.