Volunteer firefighter credited with stopping South Carolina school shooter
A volunteer South Carolina firefighter was being hailed as a hero after being able to subdue a teen gunman who opened fire at an elementary school Wednesday.
According to Fox Carolina, authorities said a 14-year-old opened fire on the Townville Elementary School playground just before 2 p.m. Two male students and a female teacher were struck by the gunfire.
Anderson County Emergency Management Director Taylor Jones said that a teacher called 911 and Townville firefighter Jamie Brock was one of the first to arrive on the scene. Jones said Brock engaged the gunman and “took him down,” and held him until deputies arrived.
A minute later, the gunman was in custody.
“It’s just another example of how all the departments in Anderson County work together when emergency situations arise,” Jones said.
Brock has been a Townville firefighter for 30 years. He also volunteers with the Crossroads Fire Department in Oconee County and won the Firefighter of the year for the department, according to Fox Carolina.
Brock has said he doesn’t want the attention.
He "wants to remain humble and quiet about it" as he believes "he did nothing any of the other volunteer firefighters wouldn't have done," said Scott Stoller with Anderson County Emergency Management.
Regardless, he said, "Firefighter Brock is absolutely a hero."
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted, “Thank you to Jamie Brock, the volunteer firefighter who stopped the #Townville shooter. We truly admire and appreciate your service.”
Authorities said the shooting spree started at the teen’s house about two miles from the school, where he killed his 47-year-old father Jeffrey Osborne. Authorities haven’t released the suspect’s name. Fox Carolina identified him as a 14 year old.
Crying and upset, the teen called his grandmother's cellphone at 1:44 p.m., Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said. The grandparents couldn't understand what was going on, so they went to his home just 100 yards away. When they got there, they found Osborne dead and their grandson gone.
About one minute later, authorities received a 911 call from a teacher at the school in this rural town about 110 miles northeast of Atlanta.
The shooter drove a truck into the school parking lot and immediately started firing as he got out and moved toward the school, Skipper said. He did not know who the truck the teen drove was registered to and declined to say how many shots were fired.
One student was shot in the leg and the other in the foot, Capt. Garland Major with the Anderson County Sheriff's Office said. Both students were male. The female teacher was hit in the shoulder.
"We are heartbroken about this senseless act of violence," said Joanne Avery, superintendent of Anderson County School District 4. She canceled classes at the school for the rest of the week.
Authorities have yet to identify a possible motive for the shooting and were unsure if the students and teacher were targeted because the gunman was homeschooled.
Skipper said the teen's mother was at work at the time of the shooting.
One of the students and the teacher were released from the hospital Wednesday evening, AnMed Health spokeswoman Juana Slade said. Greenville Health System spokeswoman Sandy Dees said the other student, Jacob Hall, remained in critical condition Wednesday evening.
The school surrounded by working farms has about 300 students in its pre-kindergarten to sixth-grade classrooms. About 90 percent of the students are white, according to state records.
"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.
South Carolina 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."
The town is situated along Interstate 85 near the Georgia-South Carolina state line.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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