A Noblesville West Middle School science teacher is being hailed as a hero after students and parents say he intervened as a student opened fire in his classroom Friday morning.
Jason Seaman, a seventh-grade science teacher and football coach, was shot several times after Noblesville police say a boy in his class asked to be excused and returned with two handguns, shooting Seaman and a 13-year-old girl.
Multiple students and parents told IndyStar Friday that Seaman stepped in to stop the shooter. It was not immediately clear how he did so.
In a written statement provided to IndyStar by Fox59, Seaman confirmed he was injured and thanking first responders.
"First of all, thank you to the first responders from Noblesville and Fishers for their immediate action and care," Seaman said. "I want to let everyone know that I was injured but am doing great. To all students, you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach."
Seaman’s brother, Jeremy Seaman, told IndyStar that he was conscious after the shooting.
“When he was taken to the hospital, I know he was talking,” Jeremy Seaman said. “He talked to his wife. He told her he was OK.”
Seaman, 29, has two young children, a toddler son and a one-month-old daughter, his brother told IndyStar.
He was released from the hospital Saturday, according to Fox59. IU Health confirmed Seaman is not a patient at Methodist at this time.
Seaman’s mother said in a public Facebook post that Seaman was shot in his abdomen, hip and forearm.
Jeremy Seaman said he wasn’t surprised his brother, a former defensive end for Southern Illinois University, put his own safety at risk on behalf of his students.
“It’s not surprising, to be honest,” he said of his brother’s intervention in the shooting. “He’s not really ever been the person to run away. When the safety of the kids is at hand, it’s not surprising to me that he was going to do what he had to do.”
Molly Miles, a freshman at Noblesville High School, told IndyStar she can remember Seaman telling her class that he would keep them safe during active shooter drills.
"I especially remember that he would throw himself on top of the shooter if he had to," she said, "which he proved today."
"He always said that he was willing to sacrifice himself before he was willing to let anything happen to his students."
Jeremie Lovall said his daughter, a seventh-grader, was in the classroom when the shooting started. She called her dad, who lives in Kokomo, to tell him she was OK.
“She kept saying, ‘I saw my teacher get shot,’” Lovall said.
Jacob Long, an eighth-grader, described a chaotic scene in his medical detectives class with students crying and teachers taking off their belts to tether doors.
“I didn’t cry,” he said, “but a lot of people were crying.”
Long said he didn’t know the students involved but knew Seaman well. He played football and ran track for him.
“He’s a good coach and a good teacher,” Long said, “an all-around good guy.”
Mac Lynas, a seventh-grader who also played football this year for Seaman, agreed.
“He’s a good coach,” Lynas said, “a good person.”
“He cares about the kids,” said Janna Lynas, Mac’s mom. “More than just developing football players, he wants to develop kids into young men.”
Jeremy Seaman said his brother was a three-sport high school athlete in Mahomet, Illinois. He tore his ACL playing basketball in his junior year, but after several surgeries he was back on the football field in August, his brother said. He went on to play at Southern Illinois University.
“He’s familiar with struggle and adversity,” his brother, who now lives in Arizona, said.
Family, friends and former teammates described Seaman as a hero who could always be counted on in times of need.
Nick Hill, current head football coach at SIU and a former teammate of Seaman's, tweeted Friday that Seaman is a hero.
"He was a great teammate, one of the team's hardest workers," Hill said in another tweet from the team's Twitter account. "You could always trust him to do the right thing.”
Lindsey Hall, who was Seaman’s middle-school principal before becoming superintendent of the Mahomet-Seymour school district, said it was unsurprising that Seaman "rose to the occasion" Friday morning.
“It’s no surprise that Jason would put forth heroic efforts,” she said. “He’s been a person of character and integrity his whole life."
Steve Vedder, who lives across the street from Seaman, said the teacher moved into the Noblesville home in November.
"He's a hero in my mind," Vedder said.
Vedder said when he heard on the news that the injured teacher was a seventh-grade science teacher, "I knew it had to be him."
"You see it on the news; you just don't think about it happening in your backyard," Vedder said.
"Our prayers are with him and his family."