Teen Girl Shot Inside Md. School Has Died: Sheriff

Jaelynn Willey, 16, was a role model to her brothers and sisters, her family said, and helped to take care of them every day

What to Know

  • 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey died at 11:34 p.m. Thursday.
  • She had been in critical condition since a gunman opened fire at a Maryland high school on Tuesday.
  • The 17-year-old shooter died, authorities said.

The teenage girl who was shot in the halls of her Maryland high school has died, the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office announced Friday. 

Jaelynn Rose Willey, 16, was surrounded by her family when she died at 11:34 p.m. Thursday, the sheriff's office says. Her parents announced that they had decided to take her off of life support hours earlier. 

Willey was in the hallway of Great Mills High School in Maryland Tuesday morning when police say Austin Rollins pointed a semi-automatic handgun at her and fired.

Authorities say Willey and Rollins had a previous relationship.

"My daughter was hurt by a boy who shot her in the head...and took everything from our lives," Willey's mother, Melissa Willey, said at a news conference Thursday evening.

Willey, a dedicated student, beach-lover and swim team member, had been in the intensive care unit at UM Prince George's Hospital Center.

"Jaelynn is an amazing young lady whose peaceful presence and love of her fellow students and family is known throughout her Maryland-based school,” her family said in a statement on a Youcaring Fundraiser page set up to help pay her medical bills.

Willey had eight siblings, one older and seven younger. She was a role model to her brothers and sisters, her family said, and helped to take care of them every day.

“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,” the family’s statement said. “Please keep Jaelynn and our family in your prayers.”

Willey was shot about five minutes before the first period bell was set to ring. Another student, 14-year-old Desmond Barnes, was shot in the leg. He has been released from the hospital.

"Our entire family is eternally grateful that Desmond is alive, doing well and in good spirits. He is an amazing testimony," Barnes' family said in a statement Thursday night. "We remain deeply saddened and shocked by this shooting incident and continue to pray for the other victim and her family during this difficult time. We are also praying for the entire Great Mills High School family and young people around this country."

The nature of Willey’s relationship with Rollins is still unclear. Rollins died after an exchange of gunfire with a school resource officer. It's not clear if the officer's shot killed the teen boy.

The attack is the 12th school shooting that has ended in injury or death this year, according to Everytown For Gun Safety research.

Willey's death comes one day before thousands of young people were expected to rally in the streets of Washington, D.C., to demand stronger gun control laws. "March for Our Lives" was organized by the teen survivors of a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

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