The school resource officer at Great Mills High School in Great Mills, Maryland, has been identified after he effectively neutralized the school shooting on Tuesday, and he is being hailed as a hero.
The officer is Blaine Gaskill, 34 years old and a six-year St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s deputy with SWAT team training. He has worked as the high school’s SRO since August.
Gaskill neutralized 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins, who had a handgun and had shot a 16-year-old female student that police suspect Rollins had a previous relationship with. That female student, who was initially seriously injured after being shot, has since been taken off life support and died. Rollins also shot and injured a 14-year-old male student.
It has been reported that Gaskill and Rollins fired shots at each other simultaneously, and that the engagement ended the shooting. Rollins later died at a local area hospital.
There was an investigation into whether it was a bullet from Gaskill or possibly a self-inflicted gunshot wound that ultimately caused Rollins’ death, but it remains clear that Gaskill’s actions ended the situation regardless, preventing what could have been a much deadlier situation.
The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office has since reported that the shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.
This Hero is Officer Blaine Gaskill. He immediately engaged the shooter and put an end to the attack. Thank you for your service! pic.twitter.com/ip5ObWReKH
— Police Support USA (@BackTheCops) March 20, 2018
St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron touted Gaskill’s response, saying there was “no question” it helped prevent any more injuries or deaths.
“He had to cover significant ground,” Cameron said, The New York Post reported. “The premise is simple: You go to the sound of gunfire.”
Cameron had said previously that the school resource officer fired and exchanged shots with the shooter, who was fatally shot.
The school resource officer was “alerted and immediately responded and engaged the shooter,” who had a handgun, Cameron said during a press conference Tuesday. “He fired at the shooter, [and] almost simultaneously the shooter fired.”
“First aid was immediately initiated, to include a tourniquet on the shooter and CPR,” Cameron said.
The Sheriff also said officials are investigating a possible motive, as it is believed there was a prior relationship between the shooter and the female victim.
“Our school resource officer was alerted to the event. He pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter, fired a round at the shooter,” Cameron had said. “The shooter fired a round, as well.”
The school went on lockdown Tuesday morning as the news broke across the country. It was initially reported that three people were hurt, including the shooter. No other details were given at that time as to their status, or if there were other injuries or fatalities.
A local ABC affiliate had reported that sources said the alleged shooter – who has not yet been identified – was a student, and that the shooter was one of three injured.
ABC7 also reported that a school resource officer responded and took action to stop the active shooter situation.
The St. Mary’s County Public School District tweeted around 10 a.m. EST that students were being evacuated and bused to the reunification center at Leonardtown High School’s campus. More than 1,400 students were evacuated.
“The building is orderly and the Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation. We will continue to update as more information becomes available,” the SMCPS district tweeted.
When news of the shooting first broke, officials had said the event was contained, but there were reports of multiple injuries.
The school district tweeted and confirmed the shooting early Tuesday.
FBI and ATF agents also responded.
Great Mills is about 60 miles southeast of Washington, D.C.
This shooting comes a little over a month after the shooting at high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead, and it comes days before thousands of students are expected to go to nearby D.C. for the “March for Our Lives” rally, intended to encourage the President to take action to make schools safer.