St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron confirmed during a Tuesday press conference that one male student and one female student were injured when a shooter opened fire inside Great Mills High School, Maryland. The sheriff said “our school resource officer, who was stationed inside the school, was alerted to the event and the shots being fired.”
The sheriff continued:
“He pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter. He fired a round at the shooter. Simultaneously the shooter fired a round as well. In the hours to come, the days to come through detailed investigation, we will be able to determine if our school resource officer’s round struck the shooter. The school resource officer is uninjured and was not struck by any fire am projectile.”
The sheriff told reporters that the shooter died as a result of a gunshot wound and the school has since been evacuated.
Armed officers and teachers inside schools is among one of the more contentious issues in the national debate on gun violence.
President Trump has repeatedly called for arming up to 20 percent of school staff members in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead. In that shooting, the officer stationed at the school refused to engage the shooter.
Terrence Rhames, 18, a student at the school, told the Baltimore Sun he was standing with friends before class began when he heard a gunshot. He said he started to run and believed he saw a girl fall nearby.
“I just thank God I’m safe,” Rhames said. “I just want to know who did it and who got injured.
Jake Heibel, the principal of the school, told parents last month that the school had investigated threats of a possible shooting and found they were “not substantiated.” Heibel told parents that school officials interviewed two students in February who were overheard mentioning a school shooting and found that they posed no threat. His letter was posted on the local news site The Bay Net.
However, Heibel said the school still increased its security after social media posts about a possible school shooting “circulated quite extensively.”
Also last month, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s office said it arrested two teenage boys for “Threats of Mass Violence” and a 39-year-old man on related charges after the teens made threats about a potential school shooting at Leonardtown High School, a high school about 10 miles from Great Mills. Police said they obtained a search warrant that led to them finding semi-automatic rifles, handguns and other weapons, along with ammunition.
The school is located about 60 miles from Washington, D.C. The St. Mary’s County Public Schools tweeted counselors and support staff would be on hand at Leonardtown High School.