A student who shot and critically wounded two fellow students at a Maryland high school on Tuesday morning, has died after exchanging gunfire with a campus security officer, the county sheriff said.
The school day had barely begun when the student, who has not been identified, shot a male student and a female student at Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County before the campus security officer intervened, county Sheriff Timothy Cameron told NBC’s Washington affiliate.
The two victims were in critical condition at hospitals.
The officer was not harmed, and the public school’s roughly 1,600 students were later escorted off campus by police, classroom by classroom, to reunite with their parents at another high school.
The reason for the shooting was unclear, Cameron said, adding, “We don’t know the relationship; we don’t know the motivation.”
The violence was the latest in a decades-long series of shootings at U.S. schools and colleges, coming a little more than a month after 17 students and faculty were killed in a rampage at a Florida high school.
Great Mills High School is in St. Mary’s County, which is about 70 miles south of Washington.
The shooting occurred amid a re-energized national debate over school shootings in the United States following the attack on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It was the deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. high school.
The shooting came four days before the March For Our Lives — partly organized by student survivors of the Parkland rampage — takes place in Washington to urge lawmakers to pass tighter gun control laws.
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A student who said his name was Jonathan Freese said in a telephone interview on CNN that he had been on lockdown with classmates for nearly an hour, but he did not hear gunshots himself. The interview ended as police came to his classroom door.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said he was monitoring events at the school. “Our prayers are with students, school personnel, and first responders,” he said in a statement.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen and Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)