An employee at a high-powered Jacksonville, Fla., private high school who was fired this morning returned to the campus this afternoon and killed the headmistress with an assault rifle he carried in a guitar case, then turned the gun on himself, police said.
"There was an employee that was terminated this morning," Jacksonville Sheriff's Department Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt said in a videotaped statement posted on the department website "They returned to the school [around 1:30 p.m.] He went to the headmaster, headmistress' office - Dale Regan - and basically had an assault rifle in a guitar case. He shot and killed Ms. Regan and then he killed himself. … Our prayers go out to the Episcopal [High School] community."
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office identified the shooter as former Episcopal High School Spanish teacher Shane Schumerth, 29.
In an emailed statement, the school said students and faculty were safe and the campus was secure.
"Our deepest sympathies are with her family and we ask for your support and prayers during this time," read the emailed statement. "The entire school family mourns the loss of our friend and leader."
The school's statement said classes would remain suspended through spring break until March 19, but that counseling and pastoral care would be provided to students and staff.
Authorities said the school had been on lockdown but that it had been lifted and parents had been allowed to pick up their children.
Regan worked as head of Episcopal for seven years. She had been an English teacher at the school for 27 years. In a 2010 Florida Times-Union story, she called the job an "exciting adventure."
According to the school's website, Episcopal enrolls 900 students for grades 6-12 and offers 21 AP and 19 Honors classes.
Its graduates have a 100 percent college placement and many head to Ivy League schools, and all 90 faculty members have four-year degrees or higher, the school website says.