A 14-year-old boy opened fire with a handgun at a playground at Townville Elementary School on Wednesday afternoon before he was stopped by a longtime volunteer firefighter, authorities said.
Two 6-year-old children were injured, one critically, along with a teacher. Jeffrey Osbourne, the father of the teenager, was found shot to death at a home about three and a half miles away, said Capt. Garland Major of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore.
The teen was apprehended within minutes of the shooting in this rural town in the Upstate’s Anderson County and never got into the school itself. One of the students was shot in the leg and the other in the foot, Major said. Both students were male. The female teacher was hit in the shoulder.
One of the children and the teacher were treated at a local hospital and released.
Six-year-old Jacob Hall, who was shot in the leg, was and flown to the Pediatric Center at Greenville Health System. Hospital officials told the Greenville News the boy was in critical condition late Wednesday night.
Authorities did not release a motive for the shooting. They said they weren’t sure if the students and teacher were targeted. Major said the teen was being homeschooled.
Authorities say the grandparents of the teenager suspected in the shooting found their son dead after receiving a call from the teen.
Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore says the teenager called his grandmother’s cellphone at 1:44 p.m. Thursday, but he was so upset, she couldn’t understand him. So the grandparents went to his home just 100 yards away. When they got there, they found 47-year-old Jeffrey Osborne shot and their grandson not there.
Authorities say a teacher called 911 about a shooter at Townville Elementary about a minute after the teen called his grandmother.
The school has 286 students in its pre-kindergarten to sixth-grade classrooms and is surrounded by working farms. Townville is near Interstate 85, Lake Hartwell and the Georgia-South Carolina state line.
After the shooting, the students were bused to a nearby church and reunited with their parents.
“This is the country,” Brandi Pierce, the mother of a sixth-grader, told The Associated Press as she began to cry. “You don’t have this in the country. It just don’t exist out here.”
The firefighter who stopped the shooting, Jamie Brock, has been in the fire service for about 30 years, said Chief Deputy Keith Smith of the sheriff’s office.
Smith said Brock was either not armed or did not use a weapon when he took down the alleged 14-year-old shooter, Smith said.
Because of the boy’s age, officials could charge him as a minor, Smith said.
Emergency medical workers and firefighters, in addition to Brock, saved lives at the school, said Taylor Jones, Anderson County Emergency Services Director.
“We had hoped we’d never use this training,” he said.
Classes have been canceled for the rest of the week, Anderson County District 4 superintendent Joanne Avery said. And the school’s cameras will be used in the investigation.
Avery said counseling will be made available to students, who will be contacted through alerts from the school.
“This is a very difficult time,” she said.
Major, the sheriff’s captain, said the victims and the alleged shooter are all white and that law enforcement does not suspect any racial motivation. The shooting is also believed to have nothing to do with terrorism, Major said.
Osbourne’s shooting was reported by his family shortly after the school shooting was reported.
A SWAT team cleared the school building after the shooting, which was reported by a teacher at 1:45 p.m. Officials were at the school within seven minutes.
The students were evacuated and moved by bus to a nearby church, where they were reunited with their family. Parents were fighting back tears as they waited for their children to be released .
“There were some heroes here today,” said the Rev. Kyle Caudell, pastor of Double Springs Baptist Church and chaplain for the local fire department.
The teachers, school staff and law-enforcement handled the situation professionally, after having just gone through a drill recently, Caudell said.
The Greenville News and The Associated Press contributed.
Governor Nikki Haley statement in response to the shooting in Townville, S.C
"As we work together with law enforcement to make sure they have the support they need to investigate what happened in Townville, Michael and I ask that everyone across South Carolina join us in praying for the entire Townville Elementary School family and those touched by today's tragedy."
SOURCE: SC Governor’s office