MAHOMET, Ill. (AP) — The teacher credited with saving lives by tackling a shooter at a suburban Indianapolis middle school says the attention he's received since then is gratifying but has also felt too much at times.
Authorities say science teacher Jason Seaman stopped the May 25 attack at Noblesville West Middle School by rushing the 13-year-old boy who fired several shots inside a classroom that badly wounded one student and also struck Seaman.
President Donald Trump hailed Seaman's bravery on Twitter. Seaman, 29, threw out the ceremonial first pitch for Friday's St. Louis Cardinals game, and will be a grand marshal for Noblesville's July 4 parade and the Oct. 20 homecoming at his alma mater Southern Illinois University.
All the recognition has caught him off guard, Seaman told The (Champaign) News-Gazette during a visit to his parent's home in Mahomet, Illinois.
"I was just helping kids who need to be helped," he said. "To get all this attention for just doing what's right, to me, it seems like it's over-the-top, and I know people just wanted to show their appreciation and they have their different ways, their different avenues of doing that. But as a teacher, I signed on to help kids, and on that day, it was no different. I was helping kids, but in a different fashion."
Seaman was a defensive lineman for Southern Illinois' football team from 2007 to 2010 and has taught at Noblesville West for the past four years. He suffered gunshot wounds to his arm, hip and abdomen in the attack but was released from a hospital the next day and has been cleared for normal physical activity.
Student Ella Whistler's family has said she faces a lengthy recovery after being shot seven times, including in her face, neck and upper chest. She suffered collapsed lungs, significant nerve damage and several broken bones, but has been announced as a grand marshal for Wednesday's parade in Noblesville.
Kristi Seaman said she and her husband have feared what might have happened if their son hadn't succeeded in stopping the attack. But she said her son has refused to let them dwell on such thoughts.
"I told him that he really scared me and his quote, I'll never forget, he said, 'Quit thinking about the what ifs and start thinking about the what is,'" Kristi Seaman said. "I thought, 'Yeah, that's right.'"
Jason Seaman said he looks forward to a return of his normal life as a teacher, coach, husband and father to his 2-year-old son and 2-month-old daughter.
"It's weird when you go to your mailbox and there's a letter from Montana, and you know you don't know anyone from Montana," he said. "It's just a simple thank you note, and it brightens your day."
Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com