Maryland school shooting just days after national walkout
On Tuesday morning March 20, 2018, 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins shot two other students in a hallway at Great Mills High School in Maryland. This shooting occurs days after the National School Walkout, which Great Mills participated in, and only days before the March for Our Lives this coming weekend.
Blaine Gaskill, Great Mills High School resource officer, responded to the scene in less than a minute and fired a round at Rollins while Rollins simultaneously fired a round as well, according to St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron. Rollins was later pronounced dead. Gaskins was not injured.
Cameron said that Gaskill “responded exactly as we train our personnel to respond […] This is what we prepare for, and this is what we pray that we never have to do.”
According to CNN, the 16-year-old female whom Rollins shot is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries at University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center. The 14-year-old male student who was shot is in stable condition at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. Cameron said that there is an “indication” Rollins had a prior relationship with the female victim.
The Baltimore Sun reports that officers from multiple agencies assisted with the investigation into the shooting. This includes car and home searches, reviewing surveillance footage, and looking through social media. The sheriff’s office investigation said there were no “pre-incident” signs yet found on social media.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said in a statement, “Although our pain remains fresh and the facts remain uncertain, today’s horrible events should not be an excuse to pause our conversation about school safety. Instead, it must serve as a call to action.”
Students were evacuated to nearby Leonardtown High School where parents were asked to meet their children.
“I’m still a little shaken up […] I didn’t think it’d really happen,” Great Mills High School student Jonathan Freese told CNN while police were clearing the classrooms after the shooting.
18-year-old senior Terrence Rhames reported to The Baltimore Sun that he heard the gunshot and started running. Rhames saw the female victim fall out of the corner of his eye. “I just thank god I’m safe,” said Rhames. “I just want to know who did it and who got injured.”
Jaclycn Corin, a student activist from Marjory Stoneman Douglas tweeted after the incident, “Less than a WEEK ago Great Mills High School students walked out with us to protest gun violence…now they’re experiencing it for themselves. The state of our country is disgusting – I’m so sorry, Great Mills.”
ABC News reports that a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing this morning on how to prevent school violence. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY began the hearing, “We simply cannot watch this happen time and time again and take no action.”
This is the 17th confirmed school shooting in the United States this year.