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Maryland school shooting victim to be taken off life support, family says

Courtesy Willey Family via AP

Melissa Willey, the mother of Jaelynn Willey, made the announcement at a news conference Thursday night.

Posted: Mar 22, 2018 2:52 PM
Updated: Mar 22, 2018 9:39 PM

(CNN) -- The 16-year-old girl who was shot by an armed student at Great Mills High School in Maryland will be taken off life support, her family said.

Melissa Willey, the mother of Jaelynn Willey, made the announcement at a news conference Thursday night.

Jaelynn was one of two students shot by Austin Wyatt Rollins, 17, on Tuesday in a hallway just before school began, according to the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office. The other victim, a 14-year-old male student, was shot in the leg and discharged from the hospital the next day.

A YouCaring page for Willey's hospital costs, which has already raised $68,000, said she has been in critical condition since the shooting.

"Jaelynn loves the snow. I wish that she had been home today to sled with her little siblings," the page said. "Instead it's been 36 hours of being in critical condition after she was shot at her high school, a place that should be safe."

Timothy Cormier, her uncle, told CNN the family was devastated by her injury.

"Jaelynn is an amazing young lady, whose peaceful presence and love of her fellow students and family is known throughout her Maryland-based school. The second oldest of 9 children, Jaelynn is not only a role model to her siblings, but also a dedicated student and member of her school's swim team.

"She also selflessly helps take care of her brothers and sisters each and every day, whether at home, or at the beach, one of her favorite places to be. It is hard for us not to see her shining, smiling face right now, and to see her light up the room with her presence," Cormier said.

"She's the most thoughtful caring person in this world. She has a heart full of love that can't be met by anyone else. Her beautiful smile lights up any room she walks into," Cormier added in a Facebook post.

Police said Rollins, the shooter, had a "prior relationship which recently ended" with Jaelynn and that the shooting was not a random act of violence. The handgun used in the shooting was legally owned by Rollins' father, police said.

Less than a minute after Rollins shot two students, school resource officer Blaine Gaskill responded and confronted him. Gaskill fired one shot at Rollins, and Rollins fired at the same time.

Rollins was severely injured in the exchange and was later declared dead, police said. Gaskill was uninjured.

Officials praised Gaskill's quick response to the shooting.

"He responded exactly as we train our personnel to respond," St. Mary's County Sheriff Tim Cameron said.

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