Officer shoots armed former student at Illinois high school 'Things could have gone much worse': Ex-student shot by officer during gunfire exchange at Dixon High School A police officer working at Dixon High School on Wednesday shot a former student who fired a gun near the school’s gym and later tried to shoot the officer Wednesday, officials said. The incident began about 8 a.m., according to officials speaking at a late-morning news conference. Students had gathered at the gym for graduation practice. Dixon police Chief Steven Howell said the suspect, a 19-year-old man, “fired several shots” near the gym. The school resource officer, identified as Mark Dallas, confronted the suspect, who then fled from the school with the officer in pursuit, Howell said. During the pursuit, the suspect fired several shots at the officer but did not strike him. The officer returned fire and struck the suspect, who was then taken into custody just west of the school, Howell said. He was taken to a hospital with injuries that weren’t life-threatening. No one else was injured. ... “He saved an enormous amount of lives,” Lee County Sheriff John Simonton. Gov. Bruce Rauner in a statement credited “school resource officer Mark Dallas for his bravery and quick action.” ... Police Chief Steven Howell, Jr., told reporters that the officer called to report that he'd spotted an armed male at the school. He said the officer confronted the former student near the school's west gym and, as he ran after him, the suspect fired several shots at the officer. Howell said the officer returned fire, shot the suspect and took him into custody. Neither the officer nor anyone else at the school was injured. Police said they believe the gunman acted alone and that there was no further threat to anyone in the area. Howell declined to discuss why the former student brought a gun to the school. "I could not be more proud of the police officer and the way he responded to the situation. With shots ringing out through the hallways of the school, he charged towards the suspect and confronted him, head on," Howell said. "Because of his heroic actions, countless lives were saved. We are forever indebted to him for his service and his bravery."