"Hero of Normal Community High School" says he is there for students

By Anna Yee

September 10, 2012 Updated Sep 11, 2012 at 9:50 AM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- Not even two weeks into his first teaching job out of college, and Derrick Schonauer is bringing new meaning to being a Normal Community High School "ironman."

On Friday, Schonauer tackled an accused gunman, a 14-year-old male student, after he fired two shots into the ceiling.

No one was injured, but the health and P.E. teacher says everyone still needs time to heal, emotionally.

"I told the kids I loved every single one of them and was proud of the way they handled it, not just me," said Schonauer. "I'm just thankful. The most important thing was that no one got hurt."

New details are surfacing from the Normal Police Department that the suspect had more than one weapon.

"I believe there were three handguns, and there were also some cutting instruments, I believe it was a hatchet, that was recovered," said Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner.

According to Unit 5, media is not allowed inside Normal Community High School to help ease students transition back to class.

Superintendent Dr. Gary Niehaus says extra counselors are on hand, and the district is discussing ways to improve safety, should a crisis strike again.

"The one thing that we'd do differently is just improve our communication," said Dr. Niehaus. "It's just that we could do it a little bit faster. Now we know how to, and I think that will be a major improvement."

The district is also considering banning backpacks in class and the idea of metal detectors, which are not currently installed.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the court ordered a psychological evaluation for the accused gunman.

Police say the investigation behind the student's motives will continue, as the students and the community learn to forge ahead the best they can, as ironmen.

The accused shooter, whose name cannot legally be released, remains in custody at the McLean County Juvenile Detention Center.

He is scheduled to appear in court on October 1 at 1:30 p.m.

Coming up on News 25 Nightside and HOI 19 News at 10, we'll hear from one of his classmates and what it was like being back in school since Friday's shooting.

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