In a harrowing incident that unfolded early Thursday morning, Perry High School in Iowa became the scene of a shocking shooting just as students were returning from their holiday break. The school, situated approximately 40 miles northwest of Des Moines, was plunged into chaos when a gunman opened fire before classes commenced, resulting in multiple injuries.
The shooting has sparked concerns on social media platform X about the identity and motive of the shooter, who has since been identified by Dylan Butler. According to the Daily Mail, Butler, a school senior, injured three people including the principal before turning the gun on himself.
Hours before Butler opened fire at the school, he posted a TikTok video in what looks like the school bathroom with the caption, "Now we wait" with the song "Stray Bullet" by industrial band KMFDM playing in the background. The video was first uncovered by two X users, Malcolm FleX and Zerosum 24, who compiled videos and postings from Butler's TikTok page before it was removed by by the platform.
As highlighted by Chaya Raichik, also known as Libs of TikTok on X, Butler allegedly identified as "genderfluid" and used the Pride flag in his TikTok bio. He also uploaded a post of graffiti with the words "LOVE YOUR TRANS KIDS <3."
"Another image from the Iowa shooter’s now deleted tiktok account says “love your trans kids.” Watch this story disappear," wrote Raichik.
In another post, the shooter used the hashtag #genderfluid and the Transgender Pride flag.
There now appears to be confirmation that Dylan Butler, the Iowa Perry school shooter, was transgender. Posting under the username "Dylanpickle1996" on Reddit, Dylan frequented the r/trans community. In one post responding to another user who asked members of the community what was holding them back from transitioning, Dylan wrote: "I don't want to look ugly."
The shooter's identity as a transgender or genderfluid-identifying person has raised questions over Butler's motivations. In 2023, Audrey Hale, who was transgender, killed six people including three children in a Nashville school.
"The Iowa mass shooter identified as gender fluid. The question must be asked: Was he on hormones or being treated for gender dysphoria? It's time to take this mental illness seriously as one associated to violence. It’s time to stop humoring these dangerous delusions," wrote political commentator Robby Starbuck.
Dallas County Sheriff Adam Infante reported that authorities received the first call about an active shooter at 7:37 a.m.
Within a mere seven minutes, officers were dispatched to the site, where they discovered several individuals suffering from gunshot wounds. The identity and condition of the victims remain undisclosed as the investigation continues.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Sheriff Infante assured the public that the threat had been neutralized, confirming that there was "no further danger to the public." A law enforcement source later revealed to CNN that the shooter was deceased. According to information provided to the Associated Press by an official, it is believed that the suspect succumbed to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
One parent, Kevin Shelley, recounted the terrifying moments when his 15-year-old son, Zander, was grazed by two bullets. The teenager sought refuge in a classroom, from where he managed to text his father about the unfolding situation, as reported by KCCI.
Sheriff Infante noted that the school had been relatively empty at the time of the attack, which he attributed to the fortunate timing of the incident occurring before classes had officially begun. He expressed relief that all students had been successfully reunited with their parents following the ordeal.