A school shooting erupted inside Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County, Maryland on Tuesday morning just as classes were starting, and the shooting was squashed within seconds thanks to the quick response of a school resource officer.
Blaine Gaskill is being hailed as a hero for tracking down the suspected shooter and engaging with him.
“When this shooting took place, our school resource officer who was stationed at the school was alerted to the event, to the shooting, and he pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter during which that engagement he fired a round at the shooter,” St. Mary's County Sheriff Tim Cameron said during a press conference held on Tuesday. “Simultaneously, the shooter fired a round as well.”
It’s not yet exactly clear if Gaskill killed the shooter or the shooter killed himself. Gaskill was not injured.
The shooter has been identified as 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins, according to CNN. Before he died, he allegedly injured two of his classmates: A girl, age 16, is in critical condition while her 14-year-old classmate has been listed in stable condition. The female has been identified as Jaelynn Willey, according to The Baltimore Sun. Cameron said at Tuesday’s news conference that there is an “indication that a prior relationship existed between the shooter and the female victim.”
Gaskill’s swift response is being celebrated.
"While it’s still tragic, he may have saved other people’s lives,” Gov. Larry Hogan said, according to The Baltimore Sun.
His response is a stark contrast to the actions of a security officer during the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17. He’s accused of staying outside and avoiding the school while the shooting erupted inside.
"Had our resource officer taken action immediately, the result of the Stoneman Douglas Valentine's Day Massacre would have been different," Stoneman Douglas student Kai Koerber told CNN. "We might not have had to walk over the bodies of our classmates, once lovely and wonderful people, as we were led away from murderous tragedy.”
[Photo: Saint Mary County Sheriff’s Office]