Police say Maryland school shooter killed himself

The scene outside Great Mills High School in Great Mills, Maryland, after a reported shooting on March 20, 2018. (Photo: Alex Brandon/ AP Photo)

Law enforcement in southern Maryland said the teenager who shot and killed his ex-girlfriend at Great Mills High School last month turned the gun on himself after the attack.

Questions lingered about whether St. Mary’s County Deputy Blaine Gaskill killed 17-year-old Austin Rollins when the two exchanged gunfire just before 8 a.m. on March 20, moments after Rollins shot two other students with a handgun stolen from his father.

“Rollins continued walking through the school, and was confronted by School Resource Officer, Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, in Hallway D,” St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said in a March 26 news release. “Rollins fired one fatal shot to his head; simultaneously, DFC. Gaskill also fired one non-fatal shot, which struck the weapon in Rollins’ hand.”

Gaskill’s intervention received high praise from Cameron and other local officials in the days after the shooting.

“It sure sounds like this is exactly the way it should have been handled by a very good SRO who is also a SWAT team officer…,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan during a news conference Tuesday. “While it’s tragic, he may have saved some other people’s lives.”

Rollin’s ex-girlfriend, 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey, died three days later after her family removed her from life support. A second student, 14-year-old Desmond Barnes, was treated for a gunshot wound and released.

Gaskill’s response comes in stark contrast to the inaction of Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson in Parkland, Florida last month. Peterson retired voluntarily after video footage revealed him idling outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while a 19-year-old former student armed with an AR-15 hunted down students and teachers inside.

The Parkland shooting generated a new round of debate over gun control, with students-turned-activists leading the charge for tougher restrictions on background checks and rifle sales. President Donald Trump and other gun groups, however, have suggested arming teachers, hardening schools and increasing school resource officers as viable defenses against future school shootings.

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