Au­thor­i­ties: School shooter killed fa­ther be­fore ram­page

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Johnny Clark

TOWNVILLE, S.C. >> A teenager killed his fa­ther at their home Wed­nes­day be­fore go­ing to a nearby elementary school and open­ing fire with a hand­gun, wound­ing two stu­dents and a teacher, au­thor­i­ties said.

The teen was ap­pre­hended within min­utes of the school shoot­ing in this ru­ral town about 110 miles north­east of At­lanta. One of the stu­dents was shot in the leg and the other in the foot, Capt. Gar­land Ma­jor with the An­der­son County sher­iff’s of­fice said. Both stu­dents were male. The fe­male teacher was hit in the shoul­der.

Be­fore the shoot­ing at Townville Elementary about 1:45 p.m., the teen gunned down his 47-year-old fa­ther, Jef­frey Os­borne, at their home about 2 miles from the school, au­thor­i­ties said.

“We are heart­bro­ken about this sense­less act of vi­o­lence,” said Joanne Avery, su­per­in­ten­dent of An­der­son County School District 4. She can­celed classes for the rest of the week.

Au­thor­i­ties did not re­lease a mo­tive for the shoot­ing. They said they weren’t sure if the stu­dents and teacher were tar­geted.

Asked about the teen’s re­la­tion­ship to the stu­dents, Ma­jor said “I know they all go to school to­gether.” He later said the teen was be­ing home­schooled and didn’t clar­ify his ear­lier re­mark.

Au­thor­i­ties said they be­lieve there was only one shooter and that all other stu­dents at Townville Elementary were safe. The stu­dents were bused to a nearby church and re­united with their par­ents. They hugged and kissed.

The school has about 300 stu­dents in its pre-kinder­garten to sixth-grade class­rooms. It is in a very ru­ral part of the state and sur­rounded by work­ing farms.

“This is the coun­try,” Brandi Pierce, the mother of a sixth-grader, told The As­so­ci­ated Press as she be­gan to cry. “You don’t have this in the coun­try. It just don’t ex­ist out here.”

Jamie Mered­ith, a stu­dent’s mother, said some of the chil­dren went into a bath­room dur­ing the shoot­ing. “I don’t know how they knew to go in the bath­room, but I know her teacher was shaken up. I know all the kids were scared. There was a bunch of kids cry­ing. She didn’t talk for about 5 min­utes when I got her,” she told WYFF.

Tele­vi­sion im­ages showed of­fi­cers swarm­ing the school af­ter the re­port of an ac­tive shooter. Some were on top of the roof while oth­ers were walk­ing around the build­ing. Stu­dents were driven away on buses ac­com­pa­nied by po­lice of­fi­cers.

Gov. Nikki Ha­ley re­leased a state­ment shortly af­ter the shoot­ing.

“As we work to­gether with law en­force­ment to make sure they have the sup­port they need to in­ves­ti­gate what hap­pened in Townville, Michael and I ask that ev­ery­one across South Carolina join us in pray­ing for the en­tire Townville Elementary School fam­ily and those touched by to­day’s tragedy.”

The ru­ral town is lo­cated along In­ter­state 85 near the Ge­or­gia-South Carolina state line.

RAINIER EHRHARDT — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Lilly Chap­man, 8, cries af­ter be­ing re­united with her fa­ther, John Chap­man at Oak­dale Bap­tist Church on Wed­nes­day in Townville, S.C.

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