17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins shot two of his fellow students at Great Mills High School in Great Mills, Md., on Tuesday, March 20, before being fatally shot himself after engaging with armed school resource officer Deputy Blaine Gaskill. Investigators have yet to say whether Gaskill shot and killed Rollins or Rollins took his own life during their exchange of gunfire.
Rollins, who used an illegally obtained handgun to carry out his attack, targeted 16-year-old female student Jaelynn Wiley, who reportedly had a prior relationship with Rollins. Wiley, who was shot in the head, died on Thursday, March 22, after her family took her off life support. Police are investigating Rollins’ relationship with Wiley as a possible motive for the shooting. A 14-year-old male student was also shot in the leg and is in stable condition. Deputy Gaskill was not injured.
St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron told the media that the incident, which began before classes were meant to start on Tuesday morning, lasted about a minute from the time Rollins opened fire to the time he was killed. Cameron praised Deputy Gaskill for his handling of the situation.
“Our school resource officer was alerted to the event. He pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter, fired a round at the shooter,” Cameron said. “The shooter fired a round as well. In the hours and days to come, we'll be able to determine if our school resource officer's round struck the shooter.”
Investigators are also trying to determine how Rollins acquired the handgun he used in the shooting. Under both federal and Maryland state law, handguns can only be purchased by individuals aged 21 and older. Additionally, would-be handgun buyers in Maryland must undergo special training, pay for a handgun license, submit fingerprints to the state, and undergo a seven-day waiting period before purchase.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan offered his condolences to the victims of the shooting and chided his state’s legislature for having not done more to secure its schools.
“We need more than prayers, we gotta take action,” Hogan said. “We got one of the most aggressive school safety plans in America that we introduced a few years ago. We've got to take action. We're going to try to get something done in Annapolis.”