LEXINGTON PARK, Md. — A 16-year-old girl who was injured in a school shooting in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, has been identified by family members as Jaelynn Willey, a member of the swim team at Great Mills High School.
Willey and a 14-year-old boy were injured in the shooting Tuesday morning that sent the southern Maryland school into lockdown.
“It is hard for us not to see her shining, smiling face right now, and to see her light up the room with her presence,” Willey’s family said in a statement.
“Jaelynn is an amazing young lady, whose peaceful presence and love of her fellow students and family is known throughout her Maryland-based school.”
A YouCaring page, set up to help Willey’s family with medical expenses, had already generated more than $40,000 as of Wednesday morning.
Willey, who has more serious injuries than the 14-year-old boy, was taken to the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center for treatment.
“This has been a traumatic incident,” said Shonda Howell, a mother who has two children at Great Mills. “I feel very bad for the families that were really affected.”
The school will be closed for the remainder of the week and will reopen after spring break on Monday, April 2.
Before that happens, parents like Howell want to know what the school will do to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
“We want some answers,” she said. “I’m not feeling comfortable sending my kids back to this school. There’s no way you can tell me a child got in here with a gun.”
The 17-year-old gunman, Austin Rollins, opened fire in a hallway with a semi-automatic handgun, investigators said. Rollins died after getting into a confrontation with St. Mary’s County Deputy Blaine Gaskill, a school resource officer who was credited with saving lives by quickly engaging the shooter.
It is not yet clear whether Rollins was shot by Gaskill or whether he shot himself.
While the motive remains under investigation, St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said authorities were looking into whether a prior relationship between Rollins and Willey was a factor.