Mattoon hero teacher speaks about shooting

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MATTOON, Ill. (WAND) - A teacher who was deemed a hero after stopping a student during a school shooting spoke for the first time after the incident. 

Math teacher, Angela McQueen at Mattoon High School  spoke to the Illinois Education Association after she was awarded with several honors at a reception on Thursday. 

The shooting unfolded on Sept. 20, when a student opened fire and wounded one person in the school cafeteria. Emergency responders were called to the high school just after 11:30 a.m. 

McQueen "overwhelmed" the student shooter and a school resource officer helped take the suspect into custody. 

“In that moment, you don’t really think. You just react. To me it’s almost like the mama bear instinct. I don’t have kids of my own right now, but it’s the instinct of you’re not going to do this to my kids,” McQueen said. “These are still my kids -- even though I don’t know every single kid in there. You’re not going to do this to my kids. You’re not going to do this at my school.”

McQueen said her faith played a role into stopping the shooting from going any further. Because of her quick action only one student was injured in the shooting. They have since returned to school.

The shooter, a freshman, has been charged with aggravated battery with a firearm.  He is expected to be back in juvenile court on Jan. 11. 

On Thursday McQueen was honored by the Illinois State Police, Illinois FBI, Society of Former Special Agents, City of Mattoon, Mattoon Police Department, Senator Dale Righter and the Mattoon School District. 

Over  200 police officers responded to the scene, including Charleston Police Department, Mattoon Police Department, Eastern Illinois University Police and Illinois State Police.  Neighbors told WAND-TV that the police response was "very quick" and "very organized." 

“We are forever grateful to Angela for her courageous actions that saved the lives of our kids.  She was a ray of light in our darkest hour,” Superintendent Larry Lilly said.

Hear more from McQueen by click here

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