Just before classes had started at the Great Mills High School in Maryland on Tuesday, two shots were heard from the hallway. Resource officer Blaine Gaskill immediately responded to the incident and confronted the lone gunman. According to a report from CNN, the would-be shooter was identified as 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins, a student at the Maryland high school. Rollins reportedly stormed into the facility armed with a handgun. Rollins then shot two people at close range, a male student and a female student, before he was confronted by the officer.
Authorities have revealed that the Rollins has had a prior relationship with the female student, which means that the confrontation may have been personal in nature. The 16-year-old female student has been rushed to the hospital and is reportedly still in critical condition from the gun-shot wound. The 14-year-old male student, on the other hand, is in stable condition.
When Rollins was confronted by the resource officer, he reportedly fired at him, which prompted Gaskill to fire a shot back. Witnesses stated that both of them had fired their guns simultaneously. Gaskill reportedly managed to hit Rollins with two shots resulting his death. Fortunately, Rollins missed hitting the officer with his shot. Investigators are still trying to determine whether or not Rollins had died from the officer’s bullet or if he actually killed himself. The school has since been put on lockdown and students and faculty members have been evacuated to a separate facility near the high school.
Authorities and the general public have hailed Gaskill’s action as a prime example of the proper way to deal with a potential school shooter. It is speculated that the incident could have been much bloodier were it not for the resource officer’s quick action. Reports have pointed out that if the security officers at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School could have responded similarly, several lives could have been spared. Gov. Larry Hogan praised Gaskill’s actions and called him a very “capable school resource officer” who was thankfully also a SWAT team member. Hogan pointed out that the incident was indeed tragic, but Gaskill may have potentially saved the lives of the other students in the high school.