At least three people — two 6-year-old boys and one female teacher — were reportedly hurt in a shooting at an elementary school in Townville, South Carolina, which is in the northwestern part of the state and close to the Georgia border. According to local station WSPA, at least one student is reportedly in critical condition.
The teenage suspect was taken into custody by local law enforcement “without incident” on the school grounds, Anderson County officials said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. The suspect reportedly had a handgun. Officials believe he acted alone, and do not suspect any link to terrorism.
Another man, 47-year-old Jeffrey Osborne, was found fatally shot in a home about two miles from Townville Elementary School, the scene of the shooting. That victim is believed to be the father of the suspect.
The school of approximately 280 students — grades kindergarten through sixth — had been evacuated after reports of the shooting, shortly before 2 p.m. Law enforcement first learned about it after a teacher alerted police of an armed gunman on the campus, and that a student had been shot. It’s still not clear exactly where on the school grounds the shooting took place, and if those hurt had any relationship to the gunman.
Students were bused to a nearby church, where officials were directing desperate parents and family who rushed there to get information and find their kids. “I don’t really know how you can explain why crazy people do crazy things,” Michelle Bush, a mom of a second- and third-grader who had rushed to pick up her kids, told the Greenville News. “I’m just glad the teachers did the right thing to keep the kids safe.”
Police and first responders swarmed the school, which is still closed off as authorities investigate. School administrators have canceled classes for the remainder of the week.
This post has been updated throughout.