Principal Who Tried to Distract Shooter Dies

Dan Marburger was shot in an attack at an Iowa high school
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2024 5:05 PM CST
Updated Jan 14, 2024 12:55 PM CST
Principal's Daughter Says He Tried to Distract School Shooter
A sheriff's yellow tape is seen Friday outside Perry High School.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
UPDATE Jan 14, 2024 12:55 PM CST

Dan Marburger, the Iowa high school principal shot while apparently trying to give students time to escape from a gunman, died Sunday. He had been hospitalized with his wounds since the Jan. 4 attack by a student, per WOWT. "Dan courageously put himself in harm's way to protect his students, and ultimately gave his own life to save them," Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement. "He will forever be remembered for his selfless and heroic actions." She ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff in the state.

Jan 5, 2024 5:05 PM CST

"It is absolutely zero surprise to hear he tried to approach and talk Dylan down and distract him long enough for some students to get out of the cafeteria," the daughter of Perry High School's principal posted online the day after a mass shooting. "That's just Dad." Dan Marburger was among the people shot Thursday by a 17-year-old student identified as Dylan Butler at the Iowa school. A sixth-grader was killed, and five people were wounded. A self-inflicted gunshot wound killed Butler. Marburger wrote on Facebook that her father, whom she called an "amazing Dad and just amazing person," was stable after undergoing surgery.

Marburger started at the high school as an assistant principal in 1995. "I had great teachers I wanted to be like," he told the Perry Chief. One former teacher told the Des Moines Register that he's "the most decent and kind human being I have ever met. He was my first principal as a first-year teacher and no doubt my best and favorite." She saw him cleaning the gym floor late one night. "It doesn't matter your title," he told her, "it's about getting the work done." Marburger said he liked to chat with students. A graduate said she'd turn to him for help when she was in school. "When I would go and talk to him, he would listen and everything," Maria Torres told MSNBC.

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"He does anything for us kids, including driving 7 hrs round trip on school nights to catch my college games in Decorah," his daughter posted. "Stayed long enough to slip me a $20 tell me I played well, give me a hug, and head out." As principal, Marburger helped Perry High School grieve several times over the past three years when students or teachers died. The losses had a cumulative effect, he said in April. "We have to get out of this trend," Marburger said, "it's almost constant sadness." (More school shooting stories.)

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