Millard South High School: Murder-Suicide at Nebraska High School Leaves Vice Principal Dead, Principal Wounded
Robert Butler Jr. (pictured above) was considered a “normal” teenager. The son of detective Robert Butler Sr., he transferred from Lincoln Southwest High School to Millard South High School on October 6, 2010.
Wednesday, he was found dead in his red Honda blocks from his new school with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after walking into the principal’s office and shooting both the principal and vice principal.
Assistant principal Vickie Kaspar died from her injuries. She would have turned 58 years old on Thursday. Principal Curtis Case is in serious but stable condition at Creighton University Medical Center.
Millard Superintendent Keith Lutz described Case as “young and energetic … I’m sure he’ll pull through this.”
As frantic parents came to pick up their children from nearby Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church, police were still trying to determine Butler’s motive for the heinous crime. The only clues come from the student himself via his Facebook page:
“Everybody that used to know me I’m sry but Omaha changed me and [expletive] me up. and the school I attend is even worse ur gonna here about the evil (expletive) I did but that [expletive] school drove me to this. I wont u guys to remember me for who I was b4 this ik. I greatly affected the lives of the families ruined but I’m sorry. goodbye.”
Butler did not shoot any students.
“He was popular with students and seemed real pleasant,” said Southwest Principal Rob Slauson, who described Butler as “a fairly normal, average” student.
Students at Butler’s former school ran in the office crying after they received word of the shooting via text messages.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the Millard South community … and also to Robert Butler’s family,” Slauson said.
Superintendent Lutz said the district would be looking at how Butler was able to bring the gun into the school, while claiming that although they had practice drills in case of extreme situations “some things you just can’t prepare for.”
The school was immediately locked down after the shooting, with teachers barricading doors to protect students in the school’s cafeteria. Many of them texted their parents and friends attempting to discover what was going on beyond the locked doors.
My heart ached as I read this story.
The slain administrators were cut down with apparently no provocation, leaving their families empty with no answers.
In addition, the family of young Robert Butler will spend the rest of their lives without their son. Suicide is never easy, but parents should not outlive their child.
My heart also aches for young Robert Butler, who was able to articulate through his message that he was in insurmountable pain. He apologized in advance for the people he knew he would hurt through his actions.
Our children are in war zones each day they step out of the door, even in schools where they are supposed to be safe. Whether Robert Butler was bullied or facing internal demons that led him to feel that violence was his only option, we may never know, but the tragedy in Omaha is one that is reflective of Pearl, Miss., and Columbine, Colo., and countless schools where many teenagers are living nightmares that many parents aren’t even aware exist.
As Mayor Jim Suttle called for the city to bond together, we must all strive to bond more with our children. Pay attention to what’s going on daily in their lives.
Be intrusive if necessary.
You never know. You might be the only friend they have.