BREAKING NEWS : Man dead after Hawthorne Suites hotel shooting Full Story

Lone resource officer's quick action stopped the Maryland school shooter within seconds

The school shooting was over in seconds. But it could have dragged on longer and proven deadlier were it not for the ...

Posted: Mar 21, 2018 12:38 AM
Updated: Mar 21, 2018 12:38 AM

The school shooting was over in seconds. But it could have dragged on longer and proven deadlier were it not for the rapid response of a school resource officer.

When a 17-year-old gunman walked into Maryland's Great Mills High School on Tuesday, the swift action of the school's sole resource officer, Blaine Gaskill, was instrumental in bringing the incident to a quick end.

Gaskill's response was hailed as an example of exactly what a resource officer is supposed to do in such a circumstance, particularly when contrasted to the actions of the security officer in last month's shooting in Parkland, Florida. (In the incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, the armed school resource deputy waited outside the school building as the shooter gunned down students inside.)

"He responded exactly how we train our personnel to respond," St. Mary's County Sheriff Tim Cameron told reporters.

Engaging the shooter

As soon as the gunfire began, Gaskill rushed to the scene. He fired a round at the shooter, who also fired a round at the same time, Cameron said.

It's not yet clear whether the shooter, Austin Wyatt Rollins, was felled by the officer's bullet or killed himself.

"DFC [Deputy First Class] Gaskill fired at the shooter ... almost simultaneously as the shooter fired," Cameron said. "This is something we train, practice and in reality, hope would never come to fruition. This is our worst nightmare."

Gov. Larry Hogan called Gaskill "a very capable school resource officer who also happened to be a SWAT team member."

"This is a tough guy who apparently closed in very quickly and took the right kind of action," he said. "And while I think it's still tragic, he may have saved other people's lives."

Over in seconds

The incident began in a school hallway at 7:55 a.m., just before classes started. Authorities say Austin, armed with a handgun, shot a female student, with whom he had a prior relationship, and another male student.

Gaskill responded to the scene in less than a minute, the sheriff said.

Cameron said the entire incident took less than a minute, possibly seconds.

The 16-year-old female student is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, and the 14-year-old male student who was shot is in stable condition.

Gaskill was unharmed.

"He's doing well and we're going to do everything to support and promote him and his well-being," Cameron said.

Playing to a narrative

Gaskill's actions were praised, rightly, across social media. But some -- most notably, the NRA -- held him up as an example of the "good guy with a gun" theory. The theory goes, that bad guys will always find a way to circumvent whatever gun laws are in place. And "to stop a bad guy with a gun," as NRA head Wayne Lapierre said, "it takes a good guy with a gun."

"This [Great Mills High School] armed school resource officer, you're not hearing anyone in #MSM talk about it because it disrupts their narrative," NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch said in one of several tweets Tuesday. (MSM is short for mainstream media.)

So far, this year, there have already been 17 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed.

In the Parkland shooting, school resource deputy Scot Peterson never entered the building after taking a position outside. He resigned after he was suspended without pay for his inaction.

"Had our resource officer taken action immediately, the result of the Stoneman Douglas Valentine's Day Massacre would have been different," Parkland student Kai Koerber told CNN.

"We might not have had to walk over the bodies of our classmates, once lovely and wonderful people, as we were led away from murderous tragedy."

Speaking to reporters, Dr. James Scott Smith, the superintendent of St. Mary's County's public schools, put the senselessness of it all in perspective.

"It looks as though the SRO [school resource officer] did exactly what the SRO is trained to do, and yet we still have a tragic loss of life," he said. "We still have somebody in critical condition. And we have students at the school and staff at the school impacted."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 592709

Reported Deaths: 9340
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion818931301
Lake44495668
Allen32035543
Hamilton28533305
St. Joseph26847372
Elkhart24132341
Vanderburgh18759213
Tippecanoe17482122
Johnson14583285
Porter14464160
Hendricks13931242
Madison10600213
Vigo10513174
Clark10300132
Monroe9109108
Delaware8861133
LaPorte8825155
Howard7916138
Kosciusko788877
Warrick648290
Hancock642597
Bartholomew629294
Floyd6184105
Wayne5956157
Grant5848110
Dubois546172
Boone536367
Morgan519491
Henry496164
Marshall494984
Cass473160
Noble462157
Dearborn461344
Jackson416145
Shelby404279
Lawrence382075
Clinton366340
Gibson357856
DeKalb338563
Montgomery336651
Harrison332642
Knox328239
Miami311243
Steuben308742
Adams296535
Whitley295525
Wabash293945
Ripley293745
Putnam286847
Huntington285058
Jasper284434
White268438
Daviess262172
Jefferson253138
Decatur242882
Fayette242448
Greene235660
Posey232826
Wells230147
LaGrange224761
Clay218732
Scott217337
Randolph209041
Jennings193235
Sullivan189331
Spencer182717
Fountain180425
Washington178218
Starke172041
Jay163122
Fulton160230
Owen160137
Carroll153015
Orange152133
Rush150818
Perry148727
Vermillion145533
Franklin143833
Parke12908
Tipton128432
Pike114125
Blackford108022
Pulaski95137
Newton89721
Brown85730
Benton84510
Crawford7669
Martin70413
Warren6607
Switzerland6235
Union6145
Ohio4707
Unassigned0374

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 831066

Reported Deaths: 10281
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin97996705
Cuyahoga826131062
Hamilton61629439
Montgomery41873399
Summit33603729
Lucas30316597
Butler29859228
Stark24951413
Warren18974139
Lorain18217212
Mahoning16815336
Lake15491135
Clermont15235104
Delaware1392977
Licking12765132
Trumbull12445306
Fairfield1226080
Greene11682133
Medina11191165
Clark10648264
Wood10000154
Allen9579126
Portage8923106
Miami890573
Richland8848116
Marion7341113
Tuscarawas7162174
Columbiana7117124
Pickaway705750
Wayne6815165
Muskingum676342
Erie5943118
Hancock540490
Ross532787
Scioto523663
Geauga487755
Darke458589
Ashtabula440572
Lawrence436652
Union432828
Mercer425887
Sandusky424462
Auglaize415159
Seneca415155
Huron413638
Shelby411021
Jefferson404566
Belmont397840
Washington373140
Athens36549
Putnam365372
Madison341429
Knox337722
Ashland333838
Fulton327143
Defiance320178
Crawford315169
Preble312434
Brown298219
Logan293229
Ottawa283034
Clinton279643
Williams271166
Highland263618
Jackson258343
Guernsey244025
Champaign242827
Fayette228029
Morrow22404
Perry222618
Holmes219462
Henry211947
Hardin205033
Coshocton198920
Van Wert198044
Gallia191626
Wyandot191449
Adams165815
Pike165217
Hocking164423
Carroll150116
Paulding139921
Noble118340
Meigs103521
Monroe96129
Harrison8598
Morgan79628
Vinton67213
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 15°
Angola
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 15°
Huntington
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 18°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 15°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 16°
Evening Light Snow Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events