Great Mills, MD- On March 20, 2018, at approximately 7:58, am, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and Maryland State Police personnel responded to Great Mills High School, for reported shots fired inside the school.

That morning, a 17-year-old male student brought a handgun to the school. At 7:57 a.m. he fired one shot that struck Jaelynn Willey and Desmond Barnes. Wiley sustained life-threatening injuries and was taken to the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center where she remained in critical condition for two more days.

”As of now Jaelynn is still on life support, but she will not make it,” Melissa Willey said. “We will be taking her off life support this evening. She is brain dead. She has no life left in her.”

On March 22, 2018, the family notified the public, through the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office that Jaelynn had been taken off life support and died at 11:34 p.m.

Barnes sustained a non-threatening injury to his leg and was treated and released from MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown, MD. St. Mary’s County School Resource Officer Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskell fired one shot at the shooter, striking the weapon at approximately the same time the shooter fired one shot into his head.

In 2019, the county held a remembrance ceremony. At the remembrance ceremony, Father John Ball said, “We also remember the students, faculty, and staff of Great Mills High School and all St. Mary’s County public and private schools. We pray for all who have suffered from acts of violence, both here and throughout the world, and for all whose needs are known to you alone.” 

This week the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office posted:

“Sheriff Tim Cameron and the men and women of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office fondly remember Jaelynn Willey and the Willey family. As the third anniversary of the horrific events at Great Mills High School on March 20, 2018 approaches, the Sheriff’s Office remembers Jaelynn — a beautiful soul who brought love and joy to all who knew her.

We are choosing to remember Jaelynn as the smiling young lady who touched many lives in the community. We are choosing to remember how this community and our citizens came together to provide support to the Willey family as well as to law enforcement and first responders. We choose to remember the light of Jaelynn and the good from this senseless tragedy.

We remember Jaelynn.”

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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