A school resource officer -- identified on network news around the nation as "a good guy with a gun" -- engaged an 18-year-old shooter after he opened fire at approximately 7:55 a.m. Tuesday at Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County, Md. The shooter, identified as Austin Wyatt Rollins, was confirmed dead after being taken to a hospital.
Rollins wounded two -- a male student, 14, listed in stable condition, and a female student, 16, in intensive care with "life-threatening, critical injuries," St. Mary's County Sheriff Timothy Cameron told reporters at a news conference.
Deputies and school nursing staff immediately administered first aid to the victims, including CPR, Cameron said.
Nobody had to hide in a closet.
No teacher had to make himself a human shield so students would live.
The resource officer at this school of some 1,600 students in the community of Great Mills near the Chesapeake Bay wasn't stationed safely outside when the shooting started.
He was fully engaged with student activity inside the building.
The officer "fired a round at the shooter, simultaneously the shooter fired a round as well," Cameron said. They are investigating whether the officer's rounds struck the shooter or the shooter took his own life. The officer was not injured, Cameron said.
His professional training shone.
The incident comes 34 days after troubled 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student, walked unimpeded into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland with a rifle and took the life of 14 students and three teachers. All while four deputies took cover so far away from the shooting it took them "a while" (one of them said later) to figure out where the shots were coming from.
And it also comes four days before the March for Our Lives rally for student safety inspired by the Feb. 14 massacre in Parkland.
Last month the 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. Police said they obtained a search warrant that led to them finding semiautomatic rifles, handguns and other weapons, along with ammunition.
Compare those actions with Broward County authorities' deliberate ignorance of similar threats in the case of Nikolas Cruz.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith
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