A teacher who subdued a high school shooting suspect acted on her “strong Christian instincts,” the teacher's mother said Thursday.
“I'm sure she didn't think about it; it was just a gut reaction,” Barbara McQueen of rural Marshall, Illinois, said of her daughter Angela McQueen, a math and physical education teacher at Mattoon High School.
“We're just glad that nobody was seriously hurt. She did the right thing and it worked out fine,” added Tom McQueen, Angela's father.
Angela McQueen did not respond to a request for comment about her actions in Wednesday's incident in the school cafeteria that Mattoon Police Chief Jeff Branson credited with saving lives.
“The school resource officer was nearby; he also helped subdue the individual, but I've got to tell you it was the school employee who took this on. I can't tell you how impressed I am with her,” Branson said.
Authorities have asked the McQueen family and others close to the incident to not comment on the shooting itself because it remains under investigation.
Angela McQueen may eventually speak out, although “she is a very quiet person and does not like the limelight,” her mother said.
A 1995 Marshall High School graduate who holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Eastern Illinois University, Angela McQueen has been in the limelight before, but for a much different reason, her mom noted. She scored more than 1,000 points during her time as a scholar-athlete with the Lions basketball team.
One student was hospitalized following the shooting and another suffered minor injuries when he was apparently grazed by gunfire.
The suspected gunman, a 16-year-old male student, faces a juvenile detention petition in Coles County Circuit Court. He has not been identified because of his age.
A student in the cafeteria at the time of the incident told WCIA-TV the gunman's finger was on the trigger when the teacher tackled him and shots were fired into the ceiling.
More than 100 police officers from as far as 30 miles away responded to the shooting and parents rushed to the school, which serves about 1,100 students.
Tom and Barbara McQueen were in Kentucky at the time, visiting the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. On their way home, they stopped to see another daughter in Evansville and Angela called that daughter to get word to her parents that, while there had been a shooting, she was safe.
The parents, who are retired teachers, granted at least three interviews Thursday but stressed, “We are here to tell everybody about her character and that she was born on the altar,” said Barbara McQueen.
“My mother said, and I've passed it on, that Satan makes a mess and God cleans it up. Angela was there to clean up Satan's mess. We couldn't be any more proud of her and her three sisters.”