NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 8/30/2010 5:37:49 PM ET 2010-08-30T21:37:49

Deputies fatally shot an armed man who entered an East Tennessee high school Monday and pointed a gun at the principal's head, Sullivan County authorities said.

Sheriff Wayne Anderson said at a news conference there's "no doubt" that the man intended to kill somebody at Sullivan Central High School.

The motive was unclear.

Authorities identified the gunman as Thomas Richard Cowan, 62, of Kingsport.

Anderson said Cowan entered the high school around 9 a.m. with a .380 caliber semiautomatic and a .25 caliber handgun in his back pocket. He grabbed the principal and pointed the semiautomatic to her head, the sheriff said, according to TriCities.com.

The school's student resource officer pulled her own gun, confronted Cowan and moved the principal to safety, TriCities.com reported.

More officers arrived and Cowan was fatally shot by sheriff's deputies, Anderson told reporters.

"There's no doubt in my mind he went there to kill someone today," the sheriff was quoted as saying. "I don't know who, and I don't know why."

No students or teachers were hurt and school was dismissed at 10:30 a.m.

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