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Former Kansas Attorney General Morrison to represent suspect in Olathe East school shooting

A young man wearing a football jersey with the number 12 stands looking at the camera. Behind his image is an orange page showing different images of blurred-out football players.
Olathe East High School
Jaylon Elmore is listed on Olathe East High School's website as a senior defensive back and wide receiver on the school's football team.

The suspect in the Olathe East school shooting remains in critical condition and was not able to attend his first hearing Monday on a charge of attempted capital murder. Paul Morrison, now in private practice in Olathe, has been appointed to represent him.

A Johnson County judge on Monday appointed former Kansas Attorney General and Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison to represent Jaylon Elmore, the Olathe East High student who allegedly shot two people inside the school on Friday.

Elmore, 18, faces a charge of attempted capital murder and remains in critical condition at Overland Park Regional Hospital.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for March 17. Elmore’s bond has been set at $1 million.

Elmore pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery in Wyandotte County in 2020 for stealing a wallet and was sentenced to probation. He was a juvenile at the time. He completed his probation last July.

He allegedly shot school resource officer Erik Clark and assistant principal Kaleb Stoppel shortly after 10:30 a.m. Friday. They were transported to the hospital and released late that day.

School administrators received a tip that Elmore had brought a gun to school in his backpack. After he was brought to the main office, he allegedly displayed a handgun. Gunfire was exchanged with Clark, who shot Elmore, according to Olathe police. Clark was not initially in the office but was summoned afterward by Stoppel, according to district spokesperson Becky Grubaugh.

Grubaugh said the district’s safety protocol process “includes preliminary actions like identifying the student” and determining that the school resource officer “was brought in as soon as law enforcement presence was necessary.”

Grubaugh said the district uses the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) safety response protocols, which provides options for school staff in the event of an active shooter.

“Olathe East administrators, staff and students followed the appropriate safety protocols on Friday, which helped prevent a difficult situation from being far worse,” Grubaugh said.

After the shooting, schools in the area were locked down and students at Olathe East were confined to their classrooms. Parents were notified and were able to assemble at nearby Pioneer Trail Elementary and California Trail Elementary, where they were reunited with their children after they were released from school.

Superintendent Brent Yeager wrote in a message to families on Sunday that he was grateful the school’s security procedures “worked just as they were supposed to in order to prevent something far worse from occurring.”

A school spokesperson said Monday that rumors of other threats to schools in the Olathe School District were reported to police but determined to be unfounded.

CNN reported this was the 12th shooting at an American K-12 campus this year.

Schools in the Olathe School District were staffed with extra officers and counselors on Monday. The school district said it would continue the heightened security throughout the week as well as counseling for students and staff.

“While we cannot take away the hurt and fear from Friday, I know that as a community we can wrap our arms around one another and heal together,” Yeager said.

As KCUR’s general assignment reporter and visual journalist, I bring our audience inside the daily stories that matter most to the people of the Kansas City metro, showing how and why events affect residents. Through my photography, I seek to ensure our diverse community sees itself represented in our coverage. Email me at carlos@kcur.org.
More than ever, education lies at the intersection of equity, housing, funding, and other diverse issues facing Kansas City’s students, families and teachers. As KCUR’s education reporter, I’ll break down the policies driving these issues in schools and report what’s happening in our region's classrooms. You can reach me at jodifortino@kcur.org.
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