BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The grief is still heavy in a Maryland community rocked by a deadly school shooting as hundreds of people came together to support each other and the victim’s family.
The rain held off in southern Maryland Sunday if only to make way for tears and heartache.
“We’re like a family, all conjoined together,” Great Mills High School alumna Tyra Briscoe said.
The Great Mills community — still grieving less than a week after a school shooting claimed two lives — came together at a peace rally as one.
“Whether you went to school there or not, it’s our school. It’s your school. So, that’s all part and parcel to what this community’s all about. The fabric that runs through it is to rally behind each other, and get everybody through this, and support the family,” St. Mary’s County Sheriff Timothy Cameron said.
Last week, the Willey family said goodbye to their 16-year-old daughter, Jaelynn.
She was shot in the head at school Tuesday, and 14-year-old classmate Desmond Barnes was shot in the leg.
“I didn’t expect to get a call saying that my son had been shot,” Barnes’ mother, Kimberly Dennis, said.
Police say 17-year-old Austin Rollins, who later died, opened fire inside the school.
“I actually ran into Austin when he had the gun pointed to his head,” student LeAire Livingston said.
Between hugs and handshakes, the community thanked a line of first responders — many of them graduates of Great Mills.
“After what happened on Tuesday, I felt like I was alone. Today, this just shows me how much support is here for us,” student Teshara Williams said.
A crowd of Great Mills High School students joined in on the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. Saturday, and wrapped up the event today by urging the community to register to vote.
“People questioned the young people that marched yesterday. And I say, you can’t question them. If they have something on their hearts, you may not agree with it, but they’re the ones who have to sit in these schools,” Dennis said.
Together, the community is working through the kind of trauma a small town doesn’t soon forget.
“This little tragedy, only two people died. But it affected everyone. It was like a nuclear bomb has just exploded or something,” Livingston said.
Dennis said Desmond is resting and doing well after the shooting.
A fundraising page has been set up for Jaelynn and her family.