Maryland Shooter Had Prior Relationship With Girl He Shot

Female victim identified as 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2018 6:21 AM CDT
Resource Officer Rushed to Stop School Shooting
This undated photo provided by the Willey family shows Jaelynn Willey.   (Courtesy of the Willey family via AP)

There's no shortage of praise for the school resource officer who engaged a shooter at Great Mills High School in Maryland on Tuesday, even as details of the incident are still taking shape. Police believe Austin Wyatt Rollins, 17, fired on 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey, with whom he had a prior relationship, in a first-floor hallway around 8am and also hit the leg of a 14-year-old boy, per CNN and NBC Washington. Both victims were taken to a hospital with injuries. However, St. Mary's County Sheriff Tim Cameron tells the Washington Post there's "no question" SWAT-trained officer Blaine Gaskill prevented more injuries by arriving on the scene in less than a minute. "Put the gun down! We know you don't want to hurt anyone," a student says Gaskill told Rollins. Rollins and Gaskill then fired their weapons at the same time, Cameron tells CNN.

Rollins was fatally shot, though it isn't clear if he was killed by Gaskill, who was uninjured. Nonetheless, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan applauded the six-year veteran and vowed to back a $125 million package that includes funding for school resource officers. "It sure sounds like this is exactly how it should have been handled," Hogan said, per NBC. Gaskill "apparently closed in very quickly" and "may have saved other people's lives." While others compared Gaskill to the school resource officer who waited outside of Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a Feb. 14 shooting, NRATV cited the officer as evidence that armed guards, not gun control, is the proper response to school shootings. "It's the only security solution that is proven to work," a tweet quotes NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre as saying. (Read more school shooting stories.)

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