GREENVILLE, S.C.—A 12-year-old student was shot and killed Thursday by another 12-year-old student inside their South Carolina middle school, authorities said.
The shooter was found hiding under a deck at a home not far from Tanglewood Middle School in Greenville about an hour after the shooting and was still armed, Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis said.
The boy is charged with murder, possession of a firearm at a school and possession of a weapon by someone under 18. He was taken to a juvenile prison in Columbia, Lewis said.
“He was hiding. He’s a young man, probably didn’t understand the consequences of what had just happened,” the sheriff said at a news conference. “I don’t think he knew what to do, honestly, except for to leave the school.”
The boys knew each other, but the sheriff said investigators are still trying to figure out what led to the shooting in a front part of the school and how the boy got the gun.
No one else was injured in the shooting.
The family of the boy killed released a statement saying he was Jamari Cortez Bonaparte Jackson and asking people to respect their privacy as they grieve.
“We are all devastated by today’s tragedy. We love Jamari dearly,” the family said in a statement released by community justice group Fighting Injustice Together.
A police officer at the school called in the shooting and requested emergency backup around 12:30 p.m. and more than 200 deputies and other law enforcement officers rushed to the school, Lewis said.
Helicopter footage from WYFF-TV showed dozens of officers walking around outside the school with more than two dozen buses lined up. Some students were slowly boarding the buses.
Everyone on campus, including teachers, were taken to a nearby church.
Greenville County Schools Superintendent Burke Royster said he doesn’t have any idea how the gun ended up at school and a student killed.
“I’m not sure after a full and thorough law enforcement investigation anyone will really know what was going through the mind of that young person who took this rash act,” Royster said.