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Teen shoots girl in Maryland school, dies in confrontation

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published March 20, 2018 at 8:20 a.m. Updated March 20, 2018 at 7:32 p.m.

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Deputies, federal agents and rescue personnel, converge on Great Mills High School, the scene of a shooting, Tuesday morning, March 20, 2018 in Great Mills, Md. The shooting left at least three people injured including the shooter. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon )



GREAT MILLS, Md. — A teenager armed with a handgun shot and critically wounded a girl inside a Maryland school Tuesday, and the shooter was killed when a school resource officer confronted him moments after the gunfire erupted. A third student was in good condition after he was shot.

The shooting at Great Mills High School, a month after 17 people were killed at a Florida high school, intensified calls for Congress to act on gun violence at schools. This weekend, students across the country plan an anti-gun violence march on the nation's capital.

In Maryland, it wasn't immediately clear whether the shooter took his own life or was killed by the officer's bullet, St. Mary's County Sheriff Tim Cameron said, though the officer was credited with preventing any more loss of life.

Authorities didn't release a motive, but said they believe the girl and the shooter — 17-year-old Austin Rollins — previously had a relationship. It wasn't clear how the 14-year-old boy was wounded.

The officer, who doubles as a SWAT team member, was unharmed.

Police did not identify the victims, but the family of 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey, a sophomore at Great Mills, confirmed that she had been shot.

Jaelynn is one of nine siblings, according to a statement from the family, and a member of the swim team.

"Jaelynn is an amazing young lady, whose peaceful presence and love of her fellow students and family is known throughout her Maryland-based school," the family statement said.

A fundraiser for the family on the youcaring.com website had already raised more than $25,000 by Tuesday evening.

Politicians responded swiftly to the shooting about 65 miles southeast of Washington.

"We sympathize. We empathize. We have moments of silence. But we don't have action," said the No. 2 U.S. House Democrat, Steny Hoyer, who represents the area in Congress. "Wringing our hands is not enough."

In this case, it appeared the shooter illegally possessed the gun. In Maryland, a person must be 21 to possess a handgun, unless carrying one is required for employment. It's unclear how Rollins obtained the weapon.

Attempts to reach his family were unsuccessful.

One of the shooter's friends, 14-year-old Jordan Hutchinson, and his mother dropped off a condolence card at the Rollins home.

Jordan recalled meeting Austin five years ago during a snowstorm, and building snow forts together.

"Austin was a nice kid. We did sleepovers all the time," he said.

The sheriff praised the school resource officer, Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, a six-year veteran in his first year at the high school, for containing the situation in less than a minute.

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

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.

Police eventually kicked in the locker room door, said Ziyanna Williams, a 14-year-old ninth-grader.

"They came in with guns, and they probably thought there might be another shooter, of course," she said. "About an hour or two later they came — more police came — and told us they would search us and search our bags and stuff."

Eventually, the students were escorted outside and taken to another school to be reunited with their parents.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said at a minimum, universal background checks and a ban on assault-style weapons are needed. He said he believes momentum is building for reform, fueled by student activism.

"I can tell you that Americans are listening to our students," he said. "I think our political system will respond."

Maryland's Senate joined the House on Monday night to ban bump stocks, which enable a semi-automatic rifle to mimic a fully automatic weapon. Teachers' union leaders issued statements Tuesday saying more policies must be changed nationwide to keep schools safe.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, meanwhile, accused the Democrat-led legislature of failing to take action on "one of the most aggressive school safety plans in the country." It commits $125 million for capital improvements such secure doors and windows, metal detectors and security cameras. It also includes another $50 million annually to pay for school resource officers, counselors and technology.

Hogan said "it's outrageous that we haven't taken action yet," with less than three weeks left in the session.

House Speaker Michael Busch, a Democrat, said legislators have "every intention" of passing legislation to make schools safer.

Just last month, the St. Mary's County sheriff's office said it arrested two teenage boys for "threats of mass violence" and a 39-year-old man on related charges after the teens made threats about a potential school shooting at Leonardtown High School. Police said they obtained a search warrant that led to them finding semi-automatic rifles, handguns and other weapons, along with ammunition.

"This is what we prepare for and this is what we pray we will never have to do," the sheriff said Tuesday. "The notion that it can't happen here is no longer a notion."

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: Teen shoots girl in Maryland school, dies in confrontation

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23cal says... March 20, 2018 at 9:59 a.m.

*Student in closet hiding from an active shooter*
*
Me: This Psycho has a machine gun and he just loaded another clip. Somebody help!
*
GOP: We're here to help! It's actually a semi-automatic rifle and they're called magazines,not clips. Okay, bye!

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Packman says... March 20, 2018 at 10:16 a.m.

*Student in closet hiding from active shooter*
*
Me: This Psycho has a machine gun and he just loaded another clip. Somebody help!
*
GOP: Good guy with a gun stopped the bad guy with a gun. Fantastic. Thank GAWD for the Second Amendment. Okay, bye!
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There, 23cal, fixed it for you.
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While it's still early it seems this was a quarrel gone bad and the incident could just as easily have taken place off campus. Due to the presence of a good guy with a gun (who unlike the timid resource officer in Florida actually did his or her job) the incident was limited and almost immediately contained. Arming school employees OBVIOUSLY does work!

( | suggest removal )

PopMom says... March 20, 2018 at 10:52 a.m.

Fortunately, this security guard did not run and hide as did the one in Parkland.

( | suggest removal )

mozarky2 says... March 20, 2018 at 11:17 a.m.

Bu-bu-but, Packy, this does not fit their narrative!
Those good guy scenarios never work! What if that good guy had killed other students, or worse yet, a BLACK student?!?!?
And the students were only wounded! Oh, noes! We won't be able to dance on their graves!
Waa-waa-waa!

( | suggest removal )

mozarky2 says... March 20, 2018 at 11:30 a.m.

If "progs'" had their way, the only weapon school personnel would be allowed to use are those "GUN FREE ZONE" signs...

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Packman says... March 20, 2018 at 1:56 p.m.

Hey moz - Promoting a political narrative for votes on the graves of dead kids is horrific, but is exactly what democrats did after Parkland. Now that their narrative has been destroyed it will be interesting to see the talking points from the DNC (as to be echoed by PopSnob, RBear, Timber, 23cal, etc.). It's incredibly sad, however, it took another tragedy to illustrate the true nature of the gun grabber's shameless political narrative.
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Just wondering if there will be a national school walkout day to honor the brave resource officer who did what the officer in Florida refused to do - SAVE LIVES on the spot and in the moment.
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Also wonder if the students from Parkland will allow the students from Great Mills to participate in the discussions so they can explain how the good guy with a gun saved lives? It's a valid question since the Parkland students have shunned other voices of reason, such as Kyle Kashuv.

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RBear says... March 20, 2018 at 5:52 p.m.

Pack biggest sack of lies, but you’re pretty clueless on this debate. Progressives are pushing for real changes to PREVENT these incidents, not propagate them. It’s pretty clear you didn’t read the story other than the part about the security officer. This was a domestic issue, not a mass shooting. It turns out another student was injured in collateral gunfire and it’s not clear who it was from.
...
The bottom line is that YOU are the one who doesn’t care about protecting students and wants to make sure your fetish is protected. The bottom line is that this was NOT a mass shooting and never was going to be. It was a domestic squabble and the young man had a handgun, not an assault rifle. SMH at your stupidity.

( | suggest removal )

23cal says... March 20, 2018 at 6:44 p.m.

My post was a jab at the GOP which has traditionally been an obstacle to any measures to decrease gun violence. My sympathy goes out to anyone too dumb to pick up on the joke or too dumb to know the history of the GOP on this topic.

My sympathies also go out to those who haven't been paying attention enough to know
that I and most progressives have no problem with and in fact advocate for armed POLICE OFFICERS,like the one here, in schools.

I laugh at the ones who can't grasp that wanting POLICE OFFICERS in schools is different from wanting just any rube with a gun who is a Rambo wannabee to be turned loose there, even if it is the school librarian.

The ones bleating so loudly here want to pretend that anyone with a firearm will be as safe and as effective as POLICE OFFICERS. Their transparency is just the cutest thing.

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Packman says... March 20, 2018 at 7:54 p.m.

Hey RBear - Want me to provide your quote where you said it was about votes?
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So, you agree a good guy with a gun at school stopped the bad guy with a gun. Thanks for supporting armed good guys to protect school kids.
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And can you possibly be more of an idiot. It wasn't a "mass" shooting because a good guy with a gun stopped the bad guy on the spot. You cannot possibly know the bad guy's intentions. Nope. You cannot possibly be a bigger idiot.
.
But wait. He had a pistol instead of a rifle? Well, hell's bells RBear, where are your hollow screams to ban pistols? Oh, that's right. Banning pistols doesn't fit your vote getting narrative. Excuse my asking.

( | suggest removal )

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... March 20, 2018 at 7:59 p.m.

Hi-Capacity three ring binders are legal !!!

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