Princeton high school 1993 witnesses speak out against school vi - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Princeton high school 1993 witnesses speak out against school violence

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In light of the Connecticut elementary school massacre, southern West Virginia is reminded of its own act of school violence.

It happened 19 years ago when seventeen Princeton High School students in science class were taken hostage.

59 News Reporter Lauren Hensley sat down with some of the people who said even though the chaos was 19 years ago-- it is something they will not soon forget.

Tucked in the archives of the Craft Memorial Library, newspaper articles from May of 1993.

Scanning for a head line, "gunman takes pshs hostage" jumps off the page, along with images of terrified teens.

"People were scared. People were hurt. It was chaos! You had people you knew in there and you wanted just to keep the situation from getting worse," Charles Poe, Mercer County Magistrate said.

Magistrate Charlie Poe, or better known in 1993 as a detective was on the Princeton Police force.

He was zooming back from the beach after learning two gunman armed with pistols and a shotgun had taken a science class hostage.

"Our crews showed Poe the newspaper from headline from that day and it stirred up an emotional response," Poe said.

"Well the reaction is that it brings back the memories of the incident. It is so devastating that something like this could happen in such a small place like Mercer County. And its one of those things you didn't realize what was happening when it happened," Charles Poe, Former Princeton Detective said.

While Detective Charlie Poe was outside during the hostage situation, 59 News   photojournalist Patrick Williams, was inside of the building as a student.  He shares his reflections on that very scary incident.

"I was in math class on the other end of the building. I remember a bunch of students running in the halls and we heard what we thought was a slamming door, but it was really the slam of a shot gun going off," Patrick Williams, witness of 1993 hostage crisis.

After the first gun shot rang out, one of the gunmen turned himself in. But it wasn't until an hour later the second gunman was taken down after two classmates tackled him, freeing the 17 high school students held at gun point.