By Judith Gicobi
Officials stated on Thursday that a 12-year-old student was fatally shot by a classmate at a South Carolina middle school.
According to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, the accused gunman, also 12, was apprehended and charged with murder and other firearm counts in the shooting at Tanglewood Middle School in Greenville.
The sheriff’s office said in a statement that no further injuries were reported as a result of the incident.
Officials say a school resource officer phoned for emergency backup at 12:30 p.m. Thursday after hearing gunshots at the school. Authorities later discovered that a student had shot another student and that the two knew one other, according to the sheriff’s office.
The suspect fled the school after the shooting and was discovered hiding under a deck at a nearby home by deputies, according to authorities. During the arrest, they also discovered a weapon, the statement disclosed.
“My heart breaks for this young boy’s family and my prayers are with them tonight,” sheriff Hobart Lewis said in the statement, referring to the victim.
“Additionally, I will be praying for the other young boy who pulled the trigger and his family. I cannot fathom what would cause someone to do this to another human being and especially at that age, but I know it’s a situation where we all need to turn to God.”
The motive for the shooting and how the suspect acquired the pistol are still under investigation, explained the sheriff’s office. The Greenville County Coroner’s Office stated that more information regarding the victim will be released on Friday.
In addition to the murder charge, the suspect is charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a person under the age of 18, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, and possession of a firearm on school property stated the sheriff’s office.
The suspect will be taken to a juvenile detention facility in Columbia, South Carolina.
The sheriff advised parents to communicate with their children and engage with them, to guarantee their own and others’ safety.
“Check their belongings and ensure they don’t have anything that could be a danger to themselves or anyone else. It truly takes a village and we need everyone’s investment,” Lewis said.
From its website, Tanglewood Middle School accommodates around 780 students in grades 6 through 8.