In the climate of school shootings, this event was all the more terrifying for the students at Great Mills High School in St Mary’s County in Maryland, a rural community about 60 miles from Washington D.C.
Shortly before 7.58am local time, senior Terrence Rhames, aged 18, was standing with friends in the hallway at the school before classes began, and he heard the crack of gunfire, which he recognized immediately. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a young girl fall to the floor.
The scene in the school was immediate fright, as the students fled the school very quickly.
During this, an armed resource officer stood off the student who shot the girl, and they engaged one another. A total of three people were initally reported injured.
8:00PM EDT: The shooter has been identified as Austin Wyatt Rollins. He was armed with a Glock semi-automatic handgun. He shot this girl, who he had been in some kind of relationship with before, before being faced by school resource officer Deputy Sheriff Blaine Gaskill, who was tactically trained for this kind of situation. He responded to the situation in only about one minute.Rollins and Gaskill faced one another and fired at each other at about the same time. Gaskill hit Rollins and brought him down.
Austin Wyatt Rollins later died, at 10:40AM, in the hospital.
The 16 year old girl was in critical condition but later stabilized and moved to Prince George County’s Shock Trauma Unit.
11:59AM EDT: One of the injured students, a 16-year old female, has been stabilized and is reported in good condition. She was transferred to a different hospital. The other injured student is a 14-year old boy, and he also has just been reported in good condition. There will be a news conference at 13:00 (1:00PM EDT) in which more information will be released.
11:28AM EDT: One of these, the shooter, was just confirmed deceased by Sheriff Tim Cameron in a news conference held at 11:28AM Eastern Daylight Time.
Great Mills High School was prepared for this. The structure of action swung into action immediately, with buses arriving to shuttle the students to nearby Leonardtown High School for reunification with their families. The shooting was contained very quickly after the “shots fired” call arrived at 7:58am. In the surrounding area, schools also went on lockdown during this crisis.
At this point, there are no details about how the shooter did what he did, or why. But the school is declared safe now, and the event is over. Two of the three people who were taken to the hospital are reported in critical condition. The shooter is now dead.
We at The Duran will continue to follow this story with updates as needed.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.