An armed student named Austin Wyatt Rollins, 17, walked in to Great Mills High School in Maryland on March 20 and shot two fellow students. A female student, 16, and a male student, 14, were both wounded by Rollins. In turn, Rollins was shot dead in a hallway of the school by the school’s resource officer, Blaine Gaskill, according to St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron. The town of Great Mills is located about 60 miles south east of Washington D.C.
During a press conference, officials said that a relationship may have existed between Rollins and one of the victims. On his Facebook page, Rollins said in December 2016 that he was dating a girl. Rollins says on that social media page that he lives in Lexington Park, Maryland. Rollins’ aunt in Nebraska, Paula Jean Rollins, apparently didn’t know that her nephew was the shooting suspect in Great Mills. Paula Rollins wrote on Facebook, “Prayers going out for my brother in law Rocky Rollins and his family, his son, Austin’s, school was involved in an active shooter situation. We have still not heard if Austin Rollins is okay or not.”
CNN reports that Rollins was armed with a handgun and that he was killed by one round. The officer was uninjured. Sheriff Cameron told the media, “This is what we train for, this what we prepare for, and this what we pray that we never have to do. On this day, we realized our worst nightmare. The notion of ‘it can’t happen here’ is no longer a notion.”
During the lockdown that followed Rollins’s attack, Great Mills student Jonathan Freese gave a chilling interview to CNN. Freese told the network, “I’m still a little shaken up… I didn’t really except for this to happen. I do always feel safe, though, because they have police at the school.” Freese also said that students at the school had trained for active shooting drills.
In a statement, via WJLA’s Kellye Lynn, MedStar St. Mary’s said, “We are currently treating one patient, a 14-year-old male, following a shooting at Great Mills High School. We first received two patients, one of whom, a 16-year-old female, we stabilized and transferred to UM Prince George’s Hospital Center.”
According to WJLA, a group of churches in Maryland are co-hosting a prayer meeting on the evening at 6 p.m. of March 20 for those affected by the shooting. Some of the churches involved, WJLA reports, are “Lexington Park United Methodist Church, Good Samaritan Lutheran Church, Lexington Park Baptist Church, Trinity Lutheran Church in Lexington Park, God’s House Church in Lexington Park, and St. George’s Episcopal Church in Valley Lee” as well as the Church of the Ascension in Lexington Park.
The Great Mills shooter is the son of Frankie “Rocky” Rollins and Angela Rollins. According to his father’s LinkedIn page, Frankie Rollins is a boom operator with the U.S. Air Force Reserve. A boom operator works on a tanker aircraft and supplies refueling to other aircrafts. The official title for the role is In-Flight Refueling Operator. Frankie Rollins first joined the U.S. Air Force in 1987 and joined the Reserve in 2003. He is based at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.
On his Facebook page, Frankie Rollins says that he is a native of Henderson, Nebraska, and has lived across the country in Virginia, Oklahoma, Washington and Tennessee.
School resource officer Blaine Gaskill is being heralded as a hero for his role in stopping Rollins. The Washington Post reports that Gaskill is the second resource officer to have stopped a school shooting attack. The last was during 1999’s Columbine High School massacre.
The FBI’s field office in Baltimore has issued a plea via Twitter asking for anyone with any video or photos of the Great Mills shooting to come forward.
— Caroline Patrickis (@Cpatrickis) March 20, 2018