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Gunman Dead After 2 Students Injured In Maryland High School Shooting

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Early this morning, gunfire broke out at a high school in Maryland about 65 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. Two teenagers were wounded - one of them critically. And the shooter who was also a teen is dead. Patrick Madden of member station WAMU reports.

PATRICK MADDEN, BYLINE: In the cold pouring rain, students of Great Mills High School and their family members embraced - sharing hugs, tears and reassurances. Fifteen-year-old Bethany Morgan met her dad Brian at the so-called reunification center at a neighboring high school.

BETHANY MORGAN: Everybody was just like, what was that big noise? And my teacher went out and said that there was somebody on the floor. Right in the moment, it was really scary. I don't want to go through something like that again.

MADDEN: Authorities say it all happened in under a minute. They say right before classes were set to begin, 17-year-old Austin Rollins opened fire critically wounding a 16-year-old female student. Within seconds, a school resources officer on the scene fired back. Authorities say the gunman was killed, and another 14-year-old male student was also wounded. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, at a press conference hours later, appeared to choke up as he talked about the need to do something.

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LARRY HOGAN: No parent should ever have to worry about, when they send their kids off in the morning, whether they're going to come home safely or not. We need more than prayers. We've got to take action.

MADDEN: Hogan, a Republican, pledged to fight for tougher gun laws and school security. The shooting, less than a week before the nationwide March For Our Lives rally, left students and parents rattled. At a nearby McDonald's, Elizabeth Chandler was trying to decompress with her daughter Cameren who was at the school when the shooting happened.

CAMEREN CHANDLER: I was trying not to cry. But I was just hiding in a corner hoping that everybody was safe.

MADDEN: Can I ask your mom sort of how you're doing right now?

ELIZABETH CHANDLER: I'm OK for now. When I had called her, she had to whisper because she was hiding. And that was very scary. This could have happened anywhere. But I'm scared for my children right now.

MADDEN: Great Mills High School is now a crime scene. Investigators are trying to figure out how Rollins got his gun and if there were any warning signs. For NPR News in St. Mary's County, Md., I'm Patrick Madden. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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