Three people, including the assailant, were critically injured in a shooting at a high school in the eastern US state of Maryland on Tuesday, officials said, just days before a nationwide student-organized march against school violence.
The shooting occurred shortly after 8:00 am (1200 GMT) at Great Mills High School, located about a 90-minute drive southeast of the US capital Washington.
“A single shooter fired a round at a female victim just at the beginning of the school hours this morning,” St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron told the MSNBC television network.
The sheriff said the shooter was “engaged” by the “school resource officer” responsible for security and was critically wounded.
He said a female student was in critical condition and a “young man” was in critical but stable condition. All three were taken to area hospitals for treatment.
Police cars and emergency vehicles with flashing lights could be seen surrounding the school.
“It happened really quickly, right after school started,” Jonathan Freese, a Great Mills student, told CNN.
“The police came and responded really quickly,” Freese said. “They had a lot of officers respond.”
Students were evacuated to a nearby high school.
Mollie Davis, who identified herself on Twitter as a student at Great Mills, posted a series of tweets about the shooting.
“Now my school is the target,” she said. “WHY DO WE LET THIS KEEP HAPPENING??? I’m so tired I’m so tired.”
“You never think it’ll be your school and then it is,” Davis said. “Great Mills is a wonderful school and somewhere I am proud to go. Why us?”
‘Together, we can stop this’
The Great Mills incident comes about five weeks after a shooting at a Florida high school left 14 students and three adult staff members dead.
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School launched a grassroots campaign for gun control following the shooting.
They have organized an event on Saturday called “March For Our Lives,” which is expected to turn out large crowds in US cities, with the main event in Washington.
Emma Gonzalez, a Stoneman Douglas student, tweeted her support Tuesday for her peers at Great Mills.
“We are Here for you, students of Great Mills,” Gonzalez said. “Together we can stop this from ever happening again.”
Under the banner #ENOUGH, tens of thousands of US high school students walked out of classrooms around the country on March 14 to protest gun violence.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan pledged to provide assistance.
“Our prayers are with students, school personnel and first responders,” Hogan said in a tweet.