BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It was an emotional scene in St. Mary’s County as hundreds said goodbye to a 16-year-old girl who was gunned down at a Maryland high school.
The public service for Jaelynn Willey was held at the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department in Hollywood, Maryland, just weeks after her 16th birthday.
Friday marked a display of hugs and tears as crowds remembered a sweet teenager adored by her family and friends.
“This is a day to lament the loss of a vibrant young lady, 16 years of age, who had so much future,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said.
Authorities say Jaelynn was shot in the head last Tuesday by her ex-boyfriend and classmate Austin Rollins, 17, at Great Mills High School.
The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office said Monday Rollins shot himself in the head after shooting Jaelynn. A school resource officer responded to the scene within a minute and fired a shot at Rollins, which ended up striking Rollins’ gun.
Jaelynn’s classmate, 14-year-old Desmond Barnes, was shot in the leg and is recovering.
Jaelynn died late Thursday night, hours after her family said she would be taken off life support. Her mother, Melissa Willey, said that her daughter was brain dead and had “no life left in her.”
“There were those that were, you know, in the hallway at the school that were affected, there were teachers affected, the broader community has been affected. What I know is that we’re all going to wrap our arms around them,” said Dr. Kathy O’Brien of the crisis response team.
Jaelynn was an honor roll student who was looked up to by her eight siblings and was a talented swimmer who set club records.
It was one final goodbye from family, friends and a community that has been changed forever.
“St. Mary’s is a community that cares. And we’re resilient and we will get through this one day at a time,” O’Brien said.
Family and friends say Jaelynn loved to bake, and they even handed out her favorite cookie recipe.
They also said she was recently looking at dresses and was very excited about attending her first prom.
A fundraising page has been set up for Jaelynn and her family.