Gaskill shot the attacker, 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins who had a Glock semi-automatic handgun he brought to the school.
St. Mary’s County Sheriff Timothy Cameron said there was “no question” that Gaskill’s quick arrival at the scene and immediate engagement with the shooter prevented more injuries at the school, about 70 miles south of Washington. Rollins had fired at a female student in a hallway, Cameron said, drawing Gaskill’s response.
Two students — the girl, who is 16, and a 14-year-old boy — were taken to hospitals, where the girl was listed in stable condition and the boy in good condition, according to hospital statements. It was not immediately clear who shot the 14-year-old, Cameron said.
Did y’all hear about the mass school shooting in Maryland today? No? Me neither! Thanks to a gun in the hands of a hero, only two innocent kids got shot today!
— Emily Horst Weaver (@ehorst92) March 20, 2018
“We should be having a school walkout to commemorate all the kids that got to walk out of school today thanks to Deputy Blaine Gaskill and his gun,” wrote Twitter poster Emily Horst Weaver, whose picture shows her firing a gun. Earlier in the month she wrote, “Nothing disgusts me more than a coward.”
“We won’t see any stories on @CNN, on @MSNBC, on any of those talking head circuits about this hero, this [Great Mills High School] armed resource officer, who did the opposite of what Scot Peterson did…what @browardsheriff did…what @RobertwRuncie did.” —@DLoesch #NRA pic.twitter.com/bmuW6sGjX3
— NRATV (@NRATV) March 20, 2018
The Twitter feed of NRA-TV, an arm of the National Rifle Association, hailed Gaskill as proof that the group’s assertion that armed guards–or teachers–is a better response to school shootings than gun control of any kind.
“Schools must be the most hardened targets in this country,” said one of the Tweets, quoting NRA President Wayne LaPierre. “Today that call from the #NRA was once again proven right.”
Gaskill had successfully defused encounters with armed suspects before. In July 2016, he responded to a call not far from the high school during which a man confronted him on the porch of a house with a pistol in his hand. In footage recorded by Gaskill’s body camera, he is heard shouting at the man to put the gun down. The man refuses at first but eventually complies and is arrested with no shots fired. The man was found guilty in February of first-degree assault and use of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime, according to reports.
The Washington Post contributed to this story.