12-year-old shot, killed at South Carolina middle school;12-year-old suspect arrested
GREENVILLE, S.C. (WLOS) — Greenville County authorities said a 12-year-old student was killed in a shooting Thursday afternoon at a middle school in Greenville, South Carolina.
Although the sheriff’s office has not released the victim’s name, a family liaison who spoke with News 13 confirmed it was 12-year-old Jamari Cortez Bonaparte Jackson.
Just after 1 p.m. Thursday, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the scene at Tanglewood Middle School, officials said.
The sheriff’s office said a school resource officer requested emergency backup at 12:23 p.m. after hearing shots fired.
“We soon learned that the gunfire was from a 12-year-old student who shot another 12-year-old student inside the 700 wing of the school,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “The victim was shot at least one time and was quickly tended to by the SRO and staff before being transported to the hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased.”
Authorities said the shooter ran from the school and a search was initiated. Just before 1:30 p.m., the sheriff’s office learned the possible suspect was at a residence in the 3000 block of Easley Bridge Road. Deputies found the suspect him hiding under a deck. The suspect was taken into custody and a handgun was recovered.
The 12-year-old suspect was arrested and is being charged with murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, possession of a firearm on school property and unlawful possession of a weapon by a person under the age of 18. He was to be transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia.
In a statement Thursday evening, the sheriff’s office said the motive for the shooting and how the suspect was able to get possession of a firearm are under investigation.
“We can confirm that the victim and suspect were familiar with each other, and we are confident the incident was isolated,” the statement said.
Deputies are not looking for any additional suspects.
No other students were injured in the incident.
The victim’s family released a statement through the organization Fighting Injustice Together (FIT) on Thursday afternoon:
“We are all devastated by today’s tragedy. We love Jamari dearly and we would ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time.” There were more than 100 deputies on scene Thursday afternoon from multiple law enforcement agencies.
“While this incident is heartbreaking on all accounts, we are very thankful for the efficient and timely responses by all first responders, students, parents and faculty who played a part of bringing calm and resolve to a chaotic situation,” the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said in the statement.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster released the following statement Thursday regarding the shooting:
I have spoken with Sheriff Lewis and SLED Chief Keel about the shooting at Tanglewood Middle School. I’m grateful for the officers and agents who responded quickly and admirably to an immensely difficult situation.
Most importantly, I ask that you join Peggy and me in praying for the families, students, and communities affected by this tragic situation. Officials said students were to be transported to Brookwood Church in Simpsonville, S.C., where parents would be reunited with them.
No additional details are available at this time.
Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis issued the following statement:
My heart breaks for this young boy’s family and my prayers are with them tonight. Additionally, I will be praying for the other young boy who pulled the trigger and his family. I can not 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. I can not be more proud of all the law enforcement and first responders and the way they worked hand in hand with the professionals at the Greenville County School District. They put these plans in place for a reason and I think today you can see the importance of these protocols. We will continue our efforts through training and enforcement of laws to do what we can to ensure our schools are safe but I also ask parents to have conversations with your kids. 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.”
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