MD Sheriff Hails School Officer’s Quick Response

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In Tuesday’s Maryland school shooting, the gunfire was over and done with in less than a minute. The shooter, a 17-year-old student, was killed. Authorities said a 16-year-old girl who had some type of relationship with the shooter was critically wounded, and a 14-year-old boy also was wounded. The school resource officer who responded inside of 60 seconds and fired off a shot at the attacker was praised as a hero, the Associated Press reports. The violence erupted as classes were beginning at Great Mills High School in southern Maryland, in a community where many families have military ties, with parents working at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station or Andrews Air Force Base.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether shooter Austin Rollins, a student at Great Mills, took his own life or was killed by the officer’s bullet, nor was it clear how the 14-year-old boy was wounded, St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said. Cameron credited the officer with preventing any more loss of life. The officer, Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, a six-year veteran with SWAT team training working his first year inside the high school, responded quickly. Within a minute after Rollins fired his first shot, Gaskill responded and fired a shot of his own. Cameron said Gaskill fired his weapon simultaneously with a final shot fired by Rollins. Cameron did not know whether Rollins intended to shoot himself or Gaskins, who was unharmed. “He had to cover significant ground,” Cameron said of Gaskill’s response. “The premise is simple: You go to the sound of gunfire.” The family identified the girl who was shot as Jaelynn Willey, a sophomore.

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