Principal Who Shielded Students from Mass Shooting Passes Away

( – Sadly, the tragic costs of school shootings often don’t end on the day the gunfire does. Ten days after a 17-year-old student opened fire at Iowa’s Perry High School, Principal Dan Marburger has died from the injuries he received that day.

All told, one 11-year-old student was killed and six more were injured by gunfire. The shooter let bullets fly randomly in the cafeteria while the student body was having breakfast before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.

Principal Marburger’s death will seem especially sore to the community as he worked to shield his students during the killing spree. The Iowa Department of Public Safety said Marburger behaved “selflessly” by using himself to shield the children from bullets.

Marburger’s family put a message on a fundraising site describing him as having given “the ultimate sacrifice,” and saying that Marburger “fought hard and gave us 10 days that we will treasure forever.”

State governor Kim Reynolds released a statement saying Iowa was “devastated” by Marburger’s death. She ordered flags on state buildings to be flown at half-mast until sundown on the day of the principal’s funeral.

Marburger’s family described him as a father, grandfather, and husband who was well-loved, and as someone who dedicated almost 30 years of his life to students and education. He “gave his own life to save them,” the family said, and they will always remember him for his “selfless and heroic actions.”

Another family, of course, is in grief. Eleven-year-old student Ahmir Jolliff was the only other person to die in the mass shooting. His family remembered him as “joyful,” and said his passions were singing and playing soccer.

Many in the community congregated at local Weise Park at night, the day of the shooting, for a candlelight vigil. Others gathered at the state Capitol building to protest gun violence.

The shooter has been identified as 17-year-old Dylan Butler. Butler went on his rampage on the first day students returned to school, January 4th, after the holiday recess. He apparently had a pump-action shotgun as well as a handgun, along with an improvised bomb that police units rendered inert.

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