Homicide

South Carolina school shooting suspect killed father before attack, officials say

Report: Law enforcement responds to possible shooting at school

 

A homeschooled South Carolina teenager shot and killed his father Wednesday before opening fire on a nearby elementary school playground, injuring two students and a teacher, local authorities said.

Anderson County Sheriff's Office Capt. Garland Major told a news conference that two male students at Townville Elementary School were shot in the leg and foot, respectively. A female teacher was shot in the shoulder.

Fox Carolina reported that one of the injured students was in serious condition at a local hospital. Late Wednesday afternoon, officials said the teacher and the less seriously injured student had been treated and released.

The suspect, who has not been identified, was apprehended shortly after the Townville Elementary shooting was reported at around 1:45 p.m. Anderson County District 4 Superintendent Joanne Avery credited the "quick response by the principal, teachers and staff [that] kept this horrific tragedy from being much worse."

The shooter never entered the school building and was apprehended by firefighter Jamie Brock, a 30-year veteran of the Townville Volunteer Fire Department, according to Anderson County sheriff's Lt. Sheila Cole.

Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore identified another shooting victim found in a nearby home as 47-year-old Jeffrey DeWitt Osborne. Shore added that authorities believe Osborne's death was connected to the school shooting and that he was killed by his son.

Authorities did not reveal the teen's age at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, and Cole says she doesn't have his age. The Anderson Independent-Mail quotes Anderson County Sheriff Chief Deputy Keith Smith as saying the teen is 14 and could be charged as a minor.

Authorities did not release a motive for the shooting and said they weren't sure if the students and teacher were targeted. 

Jones said all other students were safe following 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."

Jamie Meredith, a student's mother, said some of the children went into a bathroom during the shooting.

"I don't know how they knew to go in the bathroom, but I know her teacher was shaken up. I know all the kids were scared. There was a bunch of kids crying. She didn't talk for about 5 minutes when I got her," she told WYFF.

Television images showed officers swarming the school. Some were on top of the roof while others were walking around the building. Students were driven away on buses accompanied by police officers.

Avery said that classes at the school have been canceled for the rest of the week.

Gov. Nikki Haley released a statement shortly after the shooting.

"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."

Townville Elementary had about 300 students in its pre-kindergarten to sixth-grade classrooms last year, according to its annual state report card last spring.

The rural town is located about 110 miles northeast of Atlanta along Interstate 85 near the Georgia-South Carolina state line.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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