There was incredible community support, including from the elementary students, for Logan Cole and his family after he was seriously injured in a school shooting in January at West Liberty-Salem. Photo provided by WL-S.

Top 10 stories of 2017: #3

3. Tragedy sparks heroism in rural Ohio

Featured on the news, far too often, are horrifying glimpses of evil at work in the world, but even so, the relative safety of day-to-day life can be easily taken for granted. So it was in the rural west-central Ohio community of West Liberty where residents never expected something so bad to happen so close to home. But the community got a ghastly reminder of the fragility of life the morning of Jan. 20, 2017.

According to the WPKO-WBLL website, the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office reported the following, students were preparing for class at West Liberty-Salem schools, about an hour’s drive west of Columbus when at just after 7:30 a.m., 17-year-old Ely Serna allegedly snuck a disassembled Mossberg 500 12-gauge, pump action shotgun into the high school. Serna reassembled the gun, firing several shots, including shooting fellow student Logan Cole, 16, twice at random in the bathroom.

The official report said Serna apologized to Cole and asked him to kill him in return, handing him the gun. As he was lying on the floor bleeding from two shotgun wounds, Cole was pleading with the shooter to not cause further injury to anyone at the school or to himself. The Sheriff’s Office reports that Cole refused to pull the trigger, with Serna then being restrained by staff members shortly thereafter.

In the weeks since the incident, the community has rallied to support its young people and the Cole family, which posted regular updates on social media of their son’s recovery.

Just under a month later, the cheers of the West Liberty-Salem students and staff were heard echoing through the hallways as Cole, who was nearly killed, returned to school on Feb. 13. Though he still sported evidence of his ordeal, including a neck brace, he continued to work to make a full recovery.

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