TOWNVILLE, SC (WSPA) – SC Senator Lindsey Graham says Townville Elementary School practiced for an active shooter days before it happened.
He says the principal, Denise Fredericks, told him they practiced last Friday.
Deputy Chief Keith Smith says the incident happened on the playground behind the school and the shooter never entered the school.
The sheriff says the 14-year-old suspect got out of his vehicle and started firing immediately.
The teen is in custody.
Deputies say there is no known relationship between the suspect and the victims.
The suspect is home-schooled and is not a student at any school in the Anderson Co. School District.
A family friend says he was expelled from his school last year for bringing a hatchet to school and attacking a child.
Deputies say they were on-scene within seven minutes and the suspect was apprehended on the school grounds before 2:00pm.
The initial apprehension was made by Firefighter Jamie Brock, a 30-year veteran of the Townville Volunteer Fire Department.
They say the staff and students were evacuated within moments.
Townville Elementary does not have a contract School Resource Officer; however, the school is equipped with security cameras and a secured door system, according to deputies.
Two 6-year-old students and one teacher were hurt and taken to hospitals, according to Taylor Jones with Anderson Co. Emergency Services.
One student was shot in leg, another student shot in the foot and the teacher was shot in the shoulder, according to Garland Major with the Anderson Sheriff’s Department.
Jacob Hall, 6, is listed in critical condition at Greenville Memorial Hospital.
READ: GoFundMe for boy shot at Townville Elementary in critical condition
My flight last night coming home from Washington to Greenville was cancelled. I was tired, frustrated and like every other passenger, just ready to get home.
So this morning I returned to the airport, boarded the plane and sat by an Army Captain from South Carolina, D.J. Fredericks, who is doing his residency at Walter Reed Hospital. He told me when he was 7 years old he had been seriously injured in a car accident. He decided he wanted to be a doctor to help people. He also wanted to serve his country.
By random chance it turns out his mother is Denise Fredericks, Principal of Townville Elementary School. D.J. was returning home to be with his mom during these difficult times.
Before taking off, I had the opportunity to speak with Denise. She was full of praise for her teachers, the school nurse who acted heroically in helping those who were shot, and how awesome volunteer firefighter Jamie Brock was. She constantly stressed how proud she was of her teachers, students, and how much she was praying for their recovery.
She had visited Jacob Hall, the most seriously wounded of the three victims, and asked that I and others pray for him as well. I told her that I would definitely pray for his recovery and I’m sure that every person of faith in South Carolina was doing likewise.
She told me they had just practiced – last Friday – a drill involving a shooter. I could tell from her voice she was shaken and heart-broken, but also grateful and proud. All she wanted to talk about was the heroic actions of others.
I wanted her to know that her leadership and compassion made her every bit a Hero in our eyes as well.
There is a lot of tragedy in the world but also a lot of good. All the teachers, school nurses, firefighters, and others who responded to yesterday’s events – as well as people like D.J. serving our nation in uniform — represent the good in our world.
We should all be very thankful for them.
And for one of the few times in my life, I can say I’m glad my flight was cancelled.