GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A South Carolina middle school student said he was walking down the hall with a friend when the friend pulled out a gun and shot another student Thursday afternoon.
The victim of the shooting at Tanglewood Middle School in Greenville County was pronounced dead at an area hospital, according to Nexstar’s WSPA. Community activist Bruce Wilson, a family friend, identified the student as 12-year-old Jamari Cortez Bonaparte Jackson.
“We were friends, and we were just walking down the hallway. He was walking really fast, and he looked really nervous. … And all of a sudden, he just reaches in his backpack, just pulls out a gun, fires one shot,” a seventh grader identified only as Michael said. “I didn’t think twice. I just ran.”
Michael said he had never seen his friend walk like that or act that nervous, but he didn’t realize a shooting was about to happen.
When he saw his friend pull a gun out of his backpack, he remembered thinking, “Oh my God. He’s about to shoot the school.”
Michael said students started screaming, running to classrooms and locking the doors.
He said the shooter “just ran.”
Michael said it will be difficult to move past the deadly incident, stating, “It is going to be hard to sleep because I just know I could have lost my life that day too.”
The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office took the shooter into custody in close proximity to the school.
“We are all devastated by today’s tragedy,” Jackson’s family said in a statement. “We love Jamari dearly and we would ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time.”
“My heart breaks for this young boy’s family and my prayers are with them tonight,” said Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis in a statement. “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.”
Greenville County Schools Superintendent Dr. Burke Royster released this statement Thursday evening:
We are deeply saddened to hear that the student victim in the shooting at Tanglewood Middle School passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his fellow students, the staff members at the school and everyone who knew this child. This is an absolute tragedy, and we will continue to do whatever we can to support his family and the Tanglewood community as they mourn the young life that was lost today.
We want to recognize the tremendous response from Principal Walles and the staff at Tanglewood, the school resource officer, Sheriff Hobart Lewis, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, and the multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies who all responded rapidly in accord with our emergency response plan.”
Dr. Burke Royster
The principal of Tanglewood Middle School, Dr. Graysen Walles, also released this statement:
My heart goes out to the family of our student who passed away, and my prayers are with them. Our entire Tanglewood family is hurting with this news and from the events that took place today. Our school is mourning and will work together to heal and process this tragedy.”
Dr. Graysen Walles
Greenville County Schools announced that attendance on Friday will be optional in order to provide “counseling support for both students and staff.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism