AN EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE: Shooter dead, two injured after gunman opens fire at Maryland high school

GREAT MILLS, MD — Two students are confirmed injured after a shooter reportedly opened fire inside a Maryland high school Tuesday morning.

The incident occurred at at Great Mills High School, located 70 miles south of Washington, D.C. just before 8:00 am EST.

According to eyewitnesses, the suspect, who has not yet been identified, walked into the 1,600-student school and fired a round at a 16-year-old female student. A 14-year-old male was also shot before a school resource officer neutralized the suspect by returning fire. The shooter was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both victims were taken to a nearby hospital. The female is listed in critical condition. The male is reported to be in stable condition. Neither victim has yet been identified.

“Our school resource officer was alerted to the event. he pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter, fired a round at the shooter,” St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said during a press conference late Tuesday morning. “The shooter fired a round as well. In the hours and days to come, we’ll be able to determine if our school resource officer’s round struck the shooter.”

“This is your worst nightmare,” Cameron added.

Students who witnessed the event said they never thought something like this could happen in their tight-knit community.

“I heard one shot and when we ran, we saw a teacher and he was looking at us with a confused look,” Terrence Rhames, a senior at Great Mills, told NBC News. “We were trying to figure out if this is real.”

“It was just shocking. You hear about shootings — you never think would happen to you,” Rhames added.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that his office was “closely monitoring” the situation.

“We are closely monitoring the situation at Great Mills High School. @MDSP is in touch with local law enforcement and ready to provide support. Our prayers are with students, school personnel, and first responders,” Hogan tweeted.

According to a report posted to The Bay Net, Jake Heibel, the principal of the school, told parents last month that the school had investigated threats of a possible shooting but found they were “not substantiated.”

Also last month, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department announced it had arrested a 39-year-old man and two teenage boys for “threats of mass violence” after the teens made threats about carrying out a school shooting at Leonardtown High School, a high school located about 10 miles from Great Mills. Police officials said a search warrant resulted in the discovery of semi-automatic rifles, handguns and other weapons, along with ammunition found in the suspects’ possession.

The incident comes just one month after a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead.

The Parkland shooting resulted in The White House’s proposal of funding firearms training for school personnel in an effort to protect America’s students.

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