DIXON, Ill. — The mother of a teenager charged with firing shots at a northern Illinois high school says he had been bullied by classmates but must take responsibility for his actions.
Classes were canceled Thursday at Dixon High School, a day after authorities say 19-year-old Matthew Milby showed up in the morning as seniors met for a graduation rehearsal and fired several shots on school grounds.
Milby, who was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a school resource officer, was transferred from a hospital to the Lee County Jail, the Dixon Police Department said Thursday. He was in custody under a $2 million bond. No one else was injured in the shooting.
Julie Milby told reporters her son was recently beaten up, other students stole from him and he was kicked off the football team for smoking marijuana.
“What this all led to was more ostracization,” she said. “I just know that the kid’s been real sad for a long time.”
Milby said her son was supposed to take part in Sunday’s graduation ceremony and that she’s grateful more people weren’t hurt.
“Thank God they didn’t kill him, so that’s a blessing,” she said. “Thank God he did not kill anybody else.”
State and city leaders praised Officer Mark Dallas, a 15-year veteran of the Dixon Police Department, as a hero for confronting Milby.
Some students returned to the 800-student school about 80 miles (130 kilometers) west of Chicago on Thursday to retrieve belongings left behind when police evacuated the building. A new graduation rehearsal was planned for Thursday afternoon and the ceremony was still set for Sunday.
Sophomore Tanner Portner said he was surprised to learn Milby had been identified as the shooter.
“He seemed all right. I never would’ve expected him to do this,” Portner said.
Dixon senior Brianna Johnson said she saw Milby enter the gym area with a gun, then heard several shots before a teacher slammed the door and students sprinted away.
“He seemed like a really nice kid, but then everything changed and he was angry and high all the time,” Johnson said.
Matthew Milby is charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated discharge at a school employee and aggravated discharge at a school building. His mother said she didn’t know how her son got the gun that he took to school.
“There is no justification for what he’s done, and he will take full responsibility for that,” she said.