Dan Marburger was shot multiple times during the school shooting while protecting students. A sixth grade student was also killed in the shooting, and four people were injured. The gunman, a 17-year-old student, also shot and killed himself as police arrived.
The day after the shooting, the state Department of Public Safety said Marburger “acted selflessly and placed himself in harm’s way in an apparent effort to protect his students.”
The state Division of Criminal Investigation spokesperson Mitch Mortvedt said Marburger had done some “pretty significant things” to limit harm to students, but he did not provide details. Superintendent Clark Wicks called him a “hero” for his actions.
In a Facebook post on the night of the shooting, the principal’s daughter, Claire Marburger, called her father a “gentle giant” and said it wasn’t surprising that her father tried to protect his students.
“As I heard of a gunman, I instantly had a feeling my Dad would be a victim as he would put himself in harms way for the benefit of the kids and his staff,” his daughter wrote. “That’s just Dad.”
The Perry High School shooting occurred on Jan. 4, just before school began on the first day back from winter break. The shooting began in and was mostly contained to the school’s cafeteria, police said.
Perry, Iowa, is about 45 minutes northwest of Des Moines.
“This senseless tragedy has shaken our entire state to the core,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said after the shooting. “And I want this community to know that every Iowan stands with you. It’s impossible to understand why anything like this happens.”
“But again, I want you to know that we’ll work tirelessly to get the answers so that we can prevent it from happening again,” Reynolds added.
An investigation into the shooting and potential motives of the gunman is ongoing, local police told The Associated Press.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.