During a press conference Tuesday, St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron revealed the identity of the school resource officer who stopped the shooter from continuing his attack at Great Mills High School.
“When the shooting took place, our school resource officer, who was stationed inside the school, was alerted to the event and the shots being fired. He pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter. He fired a round at the shooter, and, almost simultaneously, the shooter fired,” Cameron said.
Sheriff Deputy Blaine Gaskill was confirmed to be the school resource officer who stopped suspect 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins.
This is @firstsheriff Deputy Blaine Gaskill, the hero who stopped the shooting at a MD high school today
Thank you sir pic.twitter.com/OFuSE0qMKn
— Cameron Gray (@Cameron_Gray) March 20, 2018
Gaskill is no ordinary cop. He is a SWAT officer.
“It sure sounds like this is exactly the way it should have been handled by a very good SRO who is also a SWAT team officer […] while it’s tragic, he may have saved some other people’s lives,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said during the press conference.
— Brad Bell (@ABC7Brad) March 20, 2018
It took Gaskill “seconds” to stop the shooting.
Cameron said their investigation so far has revealed that Gaskill ended the shooting within “seconds” from when the first shots rang out.
“And so what it looks like it’s less than minutes,” Cameron explained. “My guess is less than a minute. […] Yeah I’m thinking seconds. But less than a minute. Definitely less than a minute.”
This is not Gaskill’s first armed encounter.
Gaskill was called to a residence and was confronted by an armed suspect that resulted in a short standoff in 2016. Eventually, the suspect dropped his weapon and was arrested.
“In that split second, a decision has to be made,” Cameron told The Enterprise. “In this case, the officer used exemplary judgment.”
Gaskill actually did his job.
It goes without saying, but it’s worth highlighting how the tragedy could have been worse if Gaskill did not do his job. His actions are in stark contrast to what Deputy Scot Peterson did during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
When the suspect Nikolas Cruz began shooting, Peterson fell back outside and warned responding law enforcement to stay away from where the shooting was occurring, according to Miami Herald.