Perry, Iowa, is a town still in grieving after a 17-year-old student at Perry High School opened fire at the school early this month, killing one student — 11-year-old Ahmir Joliff — and the principal. On Sunday the principal of the high school, Dan Marburger, died from his injuries in the attack, according to his wife.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Marburger courageously put himself in harm's way to protect his students during the Jan. 4 shooting.
"I just am praying for them constantly because it is not easy losing someone, but in losing someone in this way is even more tragic and far beyond what I would want to take and go through," said Raymond Knapp, Dallas County GOP committee member.
Now with the Iowa caucuses starting, Dallas County Republicans moved caucus sites out of Perry High School. Knapp said the caucus will instead take place at Perry Elementary School out of respect for those in the community.
"There's a lot of people and it's hard to imagine how many feelings it brings up of people who didn't even have children in the school at the time," said Knapp.
For Knapp, who has lived in Perry for most of his life and whose children attended Perry High School, mass shootings are an issue in focus for the Dallas County GOP.
They plan on using the Iowa caucus as a platform to press for state legislation removing schools as gun-free zones, to possibly allowing teachers to be armed in Iowa.
"In fact, I myself am going to put in a plank in for the platform committee to somehow provide financing for schools to take and train teachers ... to be able to carry, and not allow them to say this is a gun-free area," he said. "And so I have always felt that we need to make sure that our teachers have equal power to protect the children that they dearly love and care about. And that's the thing Dan stood between the shooter and kids because that was what he was trying to do. But all he had was to give his life."
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