16-year-old girl shot at Md. high school dies after being taken off life support

WASHINGTON — A 16-year-old girl has died after being shot in the head Tuesday at a high school in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.

A statement from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on behalf of the Willey family announced that Jaelynn Rose Willey died at 11:34 p.m. Thursday surrounded by her family.

Her family announced they were taking her off life support a few hours before she died.

“She will not make it,” Jaelynn’s mother, Melissa Willey, said Thursday, her voice shaking. “We will be taking her off life support this evening. She is brain dead and has nothing — no life left in her.”

Jaelynn was shot Tuesday morning at Great Mills High School when another student, 17-year-old Austin Rollins, entered the school with a semi-automatic handgun and fired at her in the school hallway.

Rollins also shot a 14-year-old boy, but that student was discharged from the hospital Wednesday.

Jaelynn was the second oldest of nine children, and she was on the school’s swim team. Her mother said Thursday that the shooting “took everything” from the family.

The YouCaring page set up to help the Willey family with medical expenses has raised over $68,000 as of Thursday night.

“It is with terribly broken hearts that we learn of the tragic news regarding Jaelynn Willey,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a tweet. He expressed compassion for the Willey family and the Great Mills community.

Rollins was killed Tuesday after the shooting, but law enforcement officials are still investigating how exactly he died, whether he was fatally shot by the school resource officer who quickly responded to the scene or if he shot himself with his own weapon.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that Rollins had used a gun legally owned by his father and that the shooting was not a random act of violence. Rollins and Jaelynn Willey “had a prior relationship which recently ended,” the sheriff’s office said.

WTOP’s Patrick Roth contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Jaelynn Rose Willey’s name.

Teta Alim

Teta Alim is a Digital Editor at WTOP. Teta's interest in journalism started in music and moved to digital media.

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