The sheriff’s deputy assigned to protect Great Mills High stopped the Maryland school shooter in under a minute

  • Blaine Gaskill, a school resource officer assigned to Great Mills High School in Maryland, sprang into action to confront a gunman at the school on Tuesday.
  • The local county sheriff’s department praised Gaskill’s efforts, saying his actions saved lives.
  • The shooter was killed, though his death may have been a suicide. Two other students were critically injured.

Just before 8 a.m. on Tuesday, a 17-year-old student opened fire at Great Mills High School in Maryland, shooting two students who remain in critical condition.

That’s when Blaine Gaskill, a 34-year-old sheriff’s deputy assigned to Great Mills, sprang into action.

“Our school resource officer who was stationed inside the school was alerted,” St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said during a press conference. “He pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter. During that engagement, he fired a round at the shooter. Simultaneously, the shooter fired a round as well.”

The shooter was killed, but it is unclear whether Gaskill fired the deadly shot or the shooter turned the gun on himself.

Either way, the school resource officer is credited with defusing the situation within a minute, Cameron said, potentially saving lives.

Gaskill, who left the scene unharmed, was widely praised for his action.

“It looks like the SRO did exactly what the SRO was trained to do,” St. Mary’s Schools Superintendent James Scott Smith said Tuesday, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland called Gaskill a “tough guy” who “took the right kind of action.”

“I think while it’s still tragic, he may have saved other people’s lives,” Hogan added.

Not Gaskill’s first heroic day

This wasn’t the first time Gaskill, who has been with the sheriff’s office for six years, thwarted a potentially deadly situation.

In July 2016, the deputy arrived at a couple’s home in response to a complaint about people arguing in a driveway, according to The Enterprise, a local newspaper in St. Mary’s County.

When Gaskill tried to intervene, the husband pointed a gun at him, at which point Gaskill calmly pleaded with him to drop the gun, The Enterprise reported. The man relented when his wife stood in the way and persuaded him to disarm himself.

“In that split second, a decision has to be made,” said Cameron, the county sheriff. “In this case, the officer used exemplary judgment.”

Gaskill’s response on Tuesday stood in stark contrast to that of a resource officer who was excoriated last month for failing to confront the shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

On March 15, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida released surveillance video showing deputy Scot Peterson waiting outside the building where the shooting took place as it was going on. Peterson resigned in disgrace roughly a week after the shooting.