(ABC) Two students at a high school in Great Mills, Maryland, were shot and injured this morning, allegedly by a classmate who died after exchanging fire with a school resource officer, authorities said.
His two alleged victims, a male student and female student, were shot in a hallway just before classes began, authorities said.
The sole school resource officer engaged the suspected shooter, who was a male student, and fired a round, authorities said, adding that the shooter fired a round, too. He was injured and has since died at a hospital, police said.
The two other students were hospitalized, police said.
The female student is in critical condition and the male student is in stable condition, authorities said.
Authorities began evacuating people from the school later this morning and busing them to a reunification center at nearby Leonardtown High School, St. Mary's County Public Schools said.
“The building is orderly and the sheriff’s office is conducting an investigation,” the district added.
Senior Terrence Rhames, 18, was standing outside his first class when he heard a gunshot and started running, The Baltimore Sun reported.
He said he saw another student fall out of the corner of his eye.
“I just thank God I’m safe,” Rhames told the newspaper. “I just want to know who did it and who got injured.”
Great Mills is located about 60 miles southeast of Washington, D.C.
FBI and ATF agents have responded.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement, "I want to express my deepest gratitude to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and all of the first responders who swiftly and bravely took action to secure the school. The First Lady and I are praying for those who were injured, their families and loved ones, and for the entire Great Mills community as they come together to heal in the wake of this horrific situation."
“But prayers are not enough," Hogan continued. "Although our pain remains fresh and the facts remain uncertain, today’s horrible events should not be an excuse to pause our conversation about school safety. Instead, it must serve as a call to action.”
St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said at a news conference today, "This is what we prepare for. And this is what we pray we never have to do. And on this day, we realize our worst nightmare. That our greatest asset, our children, were attacked in one of our places of ... safety and security, one of our schools."
Meanwhile, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing this morning on how to prevent school violence and other violence in the country.
As the hearing began, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said of today’s school shooting, “We can only hope there are no fatalities. We simply cannot watch this happen time and time again and take no action."
This shooting comes four days before Saturday's March for Our Lives in nearby Washington, D.C. Thousands of students are expected to descend on the nation’s capital to rally for gun control and safer schools in the wake of the deadly Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
This story is still developing. Stay tune to KQ2 for further updates.
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