Teacher Brady Olson’s actions to derail a gun-toting student as classes started Monday didn’t surprise his students or co-workers at North Thurston High School in Lacey.
Olson is a popular social studies teacher and the voice on the Rams’ public-address system announcing football and basketball games.
After Monday morning’s shooting, junior Darren Sroor praised Olson’s bravery and heroism. Sroor, a forward on the Rams’ boys basketball team, was inside the school’s commons when the shooting began, and estimated he was 15-20 feet away from the shooter. After seeing the shooter on the staircase by the gymnasium and what he described as a “decent-sized” handgun, Sroor bolted for the nearest exit — the band room — and to his vehicle in the parking lot.
“He’s willing to risk his life to save other students at our school,” Sroor said of Olson. “It shows how much he cares.”
School officials and other students said Olson’s quick decision to tackle the 16-year-old boy prevented the incident from escalating after the teen fired two shots minutes before the first-period bell.
Dan Clark, North Thurston’s athletic director, said he wasn’t surprised by Olson’s rapid response or the quick actions of other administrators.
“I would have no doubt Brady would step up in any situation,” Clark said. “He’s a pretty good guy.”
Olson has taught at North Thurston for nine years. In addition to his teaching duties, Olson served as an assistant football coach at North Thurston and River Ridge high schools. He formerly coached football and taught at Black Hills High School. Olson, who stands approximately 6 feet 5 inches, was a lineman when he attended Shelton High School.
Junior Jake Harn, who was the starting quarterback for the Rams last fall, said he has a strong relationship with Olson. He said Olson’s personality is energetic and humorous.
“He’s really quick-witted,” Harn said. “He has some quick comebacks.”
But Harn also said Olson has a lot of heart for putting himself on the line Monday.
“Mr. Olson is a hero,” Harn said.