- The Washington Times
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said a 17-year-old armed with a handgun shot two students inside a Maryland high school — a rampage that ended with the shooter dead  after a school resource officer fired at him.

Sheriff Cameron identified Austin Wyatt Rollins as the shooter at Great Mills High School. The sheriff said Rollins died after Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, a school resource officer and a member of the SWAT team, fired at him.

The sheriff said a 16-year-old female student and a 14-year-old male student were wounded in the shooting in a hallway at Great Mills High School in southern Maryland.

The female student is in critical condition with “life threatening” injuries, the sheriff added.

“There is an indication that a prior relationship existed between the shooter and the female victim,” the sheriff said.

The sheriff praised the quick reaction of Deputy Gaskill, a six-year veteran in his first year at the high school, for containing the situation in less than a minute.

SEE ALSO: Austin Wyatt Rollins identified as Great Mills High School shooter

“He had to cover significant ground,” Cameron said. “The premise is simple: You go to the sound of gunfire.”

Sheriff Cameron said the shooter and the deputy both fired a round and it wasn’t known if the officer’s bullet killed the suspect.

“Simultaneously the shooter fired a round as well. So, in the hours to come, in the days to come, through a detailed investigation, we will be able to determine if our SRO’s round struck the shooter.”

Agents with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined deputies at Great Mills High School as students endured a lengthy lockdown, cowering inside classrooms and a locker room while officers worked to make sure there were no more threats on campus.

Politicians responded swiftly, acknowledging that this shooting increases the pressure for action against gun violence in the wake of the Valentine’s Day killings of 17 people at a Florida high school by a teenager with an assault weapon.

The principal at the Maryland high school told parents last month that the school had investigated threats of a possible shooting and found they were “not substantiated.”

Great Mills High School Principal Jake Heibel told parents that school officials interviewed two students in February who were overheard mentioning a school shooting and found that they posed no threat. His letter was posted on the local news site The Bay Net.

But Heibel said the school still increased its security after social media posts about a possible school shooting “circulated quite extensively.”

The incident occurred at Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County about two hours south of Baltimore. St. Mary’s sheriff asked parents not to come to the school.

— Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

• Sally Persons can be reached at spersons@washingtontimes.com.

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