Police say Austin Wyatt Rollins brought a gun to his school in Maryland and shot a female student in the hallway before classes began. According to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s office, Rollins died at Charles Regional Medical Center at 10:41 a.m.
The shooting was reported at Great Mills High School just before 8 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday, March 20. Shortly after the news was reported, the sheriff confirmed that the event was “contained.”
“There has been a Shooting at Great Mills High School. The school is on lock down the event is contained, the Sheriff’s office is on the scene additional information to follow,” a message on the school’s website read.
Anyone with information regarding the Great Mills High School shooting is asked to call 1 (800) CALL-FBI.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Deceased Suspect Was a Student at the School
According to Sheriff Tim Cameron, Austin Wyatt Rollins was a student at Great Mills. Authorities say that he entered the school and shot a 16-year-old female student in the hallway. During that shooting, a bullet hit a 14-year-old male student who was nearby.
“Great Mills High School began its school day at 7:45 a.m. like many other days, except for on this day a male student produced a handgun and fired a round, wounding a female student and another male student in a hallway of Great Mills High School just before classes begun,” St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said at a press conference.
Shortly after the shooter opened fire, the school’s resource officer exchanged fire with him. Cameron confirmed that the shooter had been wounded in that exchange, but that the officer was not injured. A couple of hours later, the gunman died.
“When the shooting took place, our school resource officer, who was stationed inside the school, was alerted to the event and the shots being fired. He pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter and during that engagement he fired a round at the shooter, simultaneously the shooter fired a round as well,” Cameron said at the press briefing. “In the hours to come and the days to come, through detailed investigation, we will be able to determine if our school resource officers round struck the shooter, the school resource officer is uninjured and was not struck by any firearm projectile.”
Cameron said the SRO and witnesses are being interviewed by detectives.
2. Two Students Have Been Injured, According to the Sheriff
The sheriff has confirmed that two students have been injured in the shooting.
A female student has been rushed to a nearby hospital and was listed in critical condition, but has been upgraded to stable condition. The male student was also in critical condition, but it currently listed in “good” condition.
A source told CNN that the incident was contained quickly because there was an officer on the school premises before the shooting occurred.
Great Mills is a relatively small school with 1,500 students enrolled.
Students quickly reacted to the shooting on social media.
“The bell hasn’t even rung for 1st and the whole great mills is on lockdown,” a student tweeted just after 8 a.m. “You would never think this would happen to you.”
Another student, Mollie Davis, tweeted, “Hi Twitter. I am in Great Mills HS. My school is on a very real lockdown threat and there’s already someone possibly dead. Please pray for us.”
Davis, a student at the school, tweeted, “There was a loud sound and everyone started screaming and running.”
Another student, Jonathan Freese, told CNN he was in math class when the shooting occurred, “I’m still a little shaken up. I didn’t really expect for this to happen. I do always feel safe, though, because they always have police at the school.”
3. Families Have Been Asked to Go to Leonardtown High School for Reunification
Students are being led out of the school and are being transported to Leonardtown high School to meet with their parents. Police have asked that families do not go to Great Mills High School. The two schools are about 15 minutes away from one another.
“Students are being evacuated from GMHS and being bused to the reunification center at the Leonardtown HS campus. The building is orderly and the Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation. We will continue to update as more information becomes available,” a 10 a.m. Twitter update from the school read.
Parents and family members have been told that they will need proper identification in order be reunited with their children.
Counselors have been made available to assist parents and students at the reunification center, according to St. Mary County Public Schools.
Other schools in the area have been tweeting that their students and faculty are safe. These schools are in session and will maintain normal daily schedules. Several of the schools in the area have cancelled their after school activities.
4. The FBI Is Investigating
The FBI has arrived at Great Mills High School to investigate. Retired FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano told CNN that authorities are going to be working to learn what happened this morning and will also be looking for a motive.
Additionally, special Agents from ATF Hyattsville are also on scene to assist the FBI and the local police in the investigation.
“Now begins the second phase of this operation and that’s the background and the investigation and the attempt for the school to return to normal, so to speak,” Sheriff Cameron told NBC Washington.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan tweeted, “We are closely monitoring the situation at Great Mills High School. @MDSP is in touch with local law enforcement and ready to provide support. Our prayers are with students, school personnel, and first responders.”
5. This Incident Happened 5 Weeks After a Shooting at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida
On February 14, a shooting at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead and over a dozen wounded. Florida Senator Bill Nelson told CNN that suspect Nikolas Cruz, a former student, entered the school wearing a gas mask and carrying smoke grenades. Police recovered an AR-15 from the school. Cruz is facing the death penalty.
The shooting in Parkland inspired students to come together and take a stand against gun violence. The #NeverAgain movement was started by Douglas High School student, Cameron Kasky, and some of his friends. #NeverAgain offers students, many who are too young to vote, a voice in the ongoing gun debate.
On Saturday, March 24, students will be participating in the March for Our Lives event in Washington D.C. Additionally, marches will be held in various communities all over the country.
“On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today. March with us in Washington DC or march in your own community. On March 24, the collective voices of the March For Our Lives movement will be heard.”
According to CNN, some students from Great Mills High School were going to attend the march.
“We are here for you, students of Great Mills,” Parkland student activist Emma Gonzalez tweeted. “Together we can stop this from ever happening again,” she added.
Students at the school joined thousands of others around the country in a National School Walkout Day last Wednesday on the one-month anniversary of the February 14 shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.
Mollie Davis, a student who took part in the walk out and tweeted about the March 19 shooting, said, “I made this video 5 days ago. Now my school is the target. WHY DO WE LET THIS KEEP HAPPENING??? I’m so tired I’m so tired.”
Another Parkland survivor, Jaclyn Corin, tweeted, “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.”
Adam Alhanti tweeted, “The words School & Shooting should not be next to eachother. Headlines like this should not have to be typed up every week. All of these incidents have one thing in common. My thoughts are with Maryland right now.”
Sheriff Tim Cameron said there is one school resource officer assigned to the high school. Officers rushed to the school when the shooting was reported.
“It was a mass response. This is what we train for, this is what we prepare for and this is what we pray we never have to do,” Cameron said. “And on this day, we realize our worst nightmare. That our greatest asset, our children, were attacked in a bastion of safety and security, one of our schools. Obviously that’s what we’re talking about right now across the country. The notion that it can’t happen here is no longer a notion. Despite training, you hope that you never have to do this, ever. We are a very tight-knit community and so now what I would ask our community to do is pray for those victims and hope that we can return to some type of normalcy in our schools and our community.”