ABOUT THE SHOOTING
On the one-month anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, students from Great Mills High School in Maryland walked out of their classes to protest gun violence. Less than a week later, they experienced their own school shooting. On March 20th, 2018, seventeen-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins, a student at Great Mills, killed one student and injured another before killing himself with his father’s 9mm Glock handgun.
According to details released by the St. Mary’s County sheriff’s office, the shooter parked his car and walked into the school a few minutes before 8:00 a.m. He then approached sixteen-year-old Jaelynn Willey and shot her in the head, a wound which would prove fatal hours later. The same bullet hit fourteen-year-old Desmond Barnes in the thigh. Barnes survived his injuries. According to the sheriff’s office, Willey “had been targeted by [the shooter] after the couple recently ended their relationship.”
After shooting Willey and Barnes, the shooter continued walking through the school until confronted by school resource officer, deputy Blaine Gaskill. Gaskill and the shooter both fired their weapons at the same time, but it was later determined the shooter’s bullet to his own head was the fatal shot. His death has been ruled a suicide. Gaskill was praised for having prevented more deaths. Since the shooting, students from Great Mills have gone on to participate in the national conversation around gun violence in schools.