- Two students and one teacher shot, one student critical.
- Teenager in custody, subdued by a volunteer firefighter.
- Father of suspect, Jeffrey Osborne, 47, found shot dead at nearby home.
- Investigators know of no motive.
A teenager armed with a pistol was quickly taken into custody after wounding a teacher and two students outside a South Carolina elementary school Wednesday, authorities said. The teen’s father was found shot to death at his home nearby.
The alleged shooter drove a vehicle into the parking lot at Townville Elementary School in Townville, South Carolina, about 1:45 p.m. and immediately began shooting, Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper said at a news conference.
Bullets wounded two male students ― one in the leg, another in the foot ― and a female teacher in shoulder, police said. One of the boys remained hospitalized Wednesday night in critical condition.
Skipper said investigators know of no motive.
“There is no known relationship between the suspect and the school victims,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. Investigators said they didn’t consider the shooting an act of terror and the teen was the only suspect. The sheriff’s statement also said the teen and victims all were white, so “there are no racial overtones.”
Authorities said the teen was home schooled. They wouldn’t release his name because of his age.
Nearby, police found the body of the teen’s father, Jeffrey Osborne, 47. Coroner Greg Shore said the teen phoned his grandmother, upset, earlier in the day, sending both the teen’s grandparents to Osborne’s house.
“When they go into the house, they find their son has been shot,” Shore said.
Investigators said they believed Osborne’s killing was linked to the school shooting, but didn’t elaborate. An autopsy was planned for Thursday.
Students scattered at the sound of gunfire, some hiding in a bathroom, as gunshots rang out.
A 30-year veteran volunteer firefighter, Jamie Brock, seized the shooter within minutes on the school grounds and held him for deputies, the sheriff said. Skipper said Brock’s actions minimized the toll.
“It goes back to Firefighter Brock, confronting him if nothing else,” the sheriff said. “As far as why he didn’t get off more shots, it’s because he was confronted.”
Jamie Meredith, a student’s mother, told WYFF that the children appeared to be in shock.
“I don’t know how they knew to go in the bathroom, but I know her teacher was shaken up,” Meredith told the station. “I know all the kids were scared. There was a bunch of kids crying. She didn’t talk for about five minutes when I got here.”
One student, Jacob Hall, was flown to the Greenville Memorial Hospital’s emergency trauma center, where he was in critical condition, said Sandy Dees, spokeswoman for Greenville Healthcare Systems. The teacher, Meghan Hollingsworth, and the other student were released after treatment at AnMed Hospital, Anderson County EMS Director Scott Stoller told HuffPost.
“We appreciate the community’s support, especially the Townville Rescue Squad who treated Jacob onsite and brought him to the hospital,” said Rodger and Renae Hall, Jacob’s parents, in a statement released through Greenville Health System’s Children’s Hospital. “We appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers and ask for privacy during this difficult time.”
Law enforcement swept the school and evacuated its approximately 280 students. The students, along with teachers and parents who were at the school, were bused to a nearby Baptist church.
Joanne Avery, Anderson County District 4 superintendent, said she was “heartbroken by this senseless act of violence” and canceled school at Townville for the rest of the week.
In a statement to WSPA 7News, an attorney for the suspect’s family expressed sorrow.
Townville Elementary School serves kindergarten through 6th grade in Anderson County School District. Townville is an unincorporated community in upstate South Carolina, less than 15 miles northwest of nearby Anderson off Highway 24. That highway was closed down Wednesday afternoon to allow emergency services to get to and from the school.
South Carolina Sens. Lindsey Graham (R) and Tim Scott (R) both reacted to news of the shooting on Twitter:
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley responded with a statement.
There have been nearly three dozen school shootings this year, and at least 160 since 2013, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. Earlier this year, the Senate blocked four separate measures that would have tightened background checks required to buy a gun and prevented suspected terrorists from buying a gun. Those measures failed, despite the fact that expanded background checks are popular overall.
Graphiq released a visualization Wednesday of all the times a gun was discharged on a school campus since 2013.
Chris D’Angelo and Michael McLaughlin contributed reporting.