A school resource officer didn’t kill the Maryland high school shooter — he killed himself

The school resource officer shot the gunman in the hand and hit his gun, officials reported on Monday.

by Christianna Silva
Mar 27 2018, 5:12pm

Although a school resource officer intervened in a Maryland high school shooting last week that killed one student, the 17-year-old gunman died from shooting himself in the head, officials investigating the case said Monday.

The male shooter showed up to his school, Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County, Maryland, last Tuesday with his father’s Glock 9-millimeter pistol, the Baltimore Sun reported. Around 8:00 a.m., he shot his former girlfriend Jaelynn Willey, 16, in the head, and the bullet also hit Desmond Barnes, 14, in the leg. Both were transferred to hospitals, and Wiley later died. Her funeral is planned for this Friday.

Less than a minute after the shooting, school resource officer Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill confronted the gunman. At first, it wasn’t clear if Gaskill fatally shot the gunman — the two fired their weapons at the same time, police said. But Gaskill shot him in the hand and hit his gun, officials reported on Monday. Instead, the gunman hot himself in the head and died later that day. Gaskill was not injured.

Gaskill is just the second school resource officer to exchange fire with an active shooter since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, according to the Washington Post.

At the time, St. Mary’s County Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron said there was “no question” that Gaskill’s quick response prevented more injuries, despite not knowing if Gaskill killed the shooter. Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan heralded Gaskill as a “tough guy” and used his action to push forward a political move to fund more school resource officers, the Washington Post reported.

In the hours and days after the shooting, Gaskill became a national representation of the “good guy with a gun” argument to ending gun violence in schools. In the wake of the deadly mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which a former student killed 17 people, Republican politicians, including the president, as well as the NRA called for arming teachers and placing additional officers, like Gaskill, on campuses.

“Schools must be the most hardened targets in this country,” the NRA tweeted, quoting NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre. “Today that call from the #NRA was once again proven right.”

But many survivors from school shootings, particularly those from Parkland, argue that arming teachers and school resource officers would only make matters worse.

Cover image: Crime scene tape is used around Great Mills High School, the scene of a shooting, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Great Mills. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

This article originally appeared on VICE News US.

gun violence
school resource officer
Great Mills High School
Austin Wyatt Rollins
Blaine Gaskill
St. Mary's County