A teenage gunman shot a teacher and two young boys, one of whom was critically wounded, at an elementary school in rural South Carolina on Wednesday, and his father was later found shot to death at a home nearby, authorities said.
The suspect, who officials said was home-schooled, was taken into custody without incident on school grounds shortly after authorities were called to Townville Elementary School at 1:45 p.m. ET by a teacher saying an armed man was on the property, investigators said.
“We feel confident that we have the sole shooter, that no one else is involved and the community is not in danger at this point,” said Capt. Garland Major, chief investigator for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.
One of the boys, identified as Jacob Hall, was listed in critical condition Wednesday night at Greenville Health System Children’s Hospital. No further details, including Jacob’s age, were provided.
The teacher, a woman, and the other boy were treated and released from a hospital.
The school, in Townville in Anderson County, about 35 miles southwest of Greenville, has 280 students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade, serving a rural community in the western corner of the state.
The attacker, who was armed with a handgun, shot all of his victims on the playground, Deputy Chief Sheriff Keith Smith said. He was subdued by Jamie Brock, a 30-year veteran of the Townville Volunteer Fire Department, who was one of the first rescue workers to arrive at the scene, officials said.
Shortly after the shooting, authorities received a 911 reporting that a man had been shot dead about 2 miles away. The victim there, Jeffrey Dewitt Osborne, 47, turned out to be the school gunman’s father, Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said.
Authorities didn’t say whether Osborne was shot by his son, adding that the “relevance” of Osborne’s death remained under investigation. Any relationship between the shooter and the victims at the school was unclear early Wednesday evening, authorities said.
The school was swarmed with rescue workers and armed officers, some of whom escorted children by bus to a nearby church, where frantic parents met them, some of them fighting tears.
“I just pray for those families. I pray for those kids,” Jamie Meredith told NBC station WYFF of Greenville after she was reunited with her daughter, adding: “I’m just so scared. I don’t even want her to go to school now.”