Maryland high school shooter dies after exchange with officer -sheriff

Emergency responders are seen at Great Mills High School in Lexington Park, Maryland after a shooting at the school. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Maryland high school shooter dies after exchange with officer -sheriff

GREAT MILLS, United States: A student armed with a handgun wounded two classmates at a Maryland high school on Tuesday, officials said, in an outburst of campus violence just days before a student-organized nationwide march for gun control.
The shooter, who was not identified, has died following the incident at Great Mills High School, St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron told reporters.
Cameron said the “school resource officer” responsible for security engaged the shooter after hearing gunfire at around 7:45 am (1145 GMT), shortly before classes were due to begin for the day.
“A male student produced a handgun and fired... wounding a female student and another male student in a hallway,” Cameron said. The female student was in critical condition while the male student was in stable condition, he said.
“When the shooting took place, our school resource officer, who was stationed inside the school, was alerted to the event and the shots being fired,” he said.
“He pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter — during that engagement, he fired a round at the shooter,” Cameron said. “Simultaneously the shooter fired a round as well.”
“In the hours to come, in the days to come, through detailed investigation, we will be able to determine if our school resource officer’s round struck the shooter,” the sheriff said, suggesting the assailant may have instead taken his own life.

Following the shooting in Great Mills, located about a 90-minute drive southeast of the US capital Washington, students were evacuated to a nearby school where they were reunited with their parents, Cameron said.
“It happened really quickly, right after school started,” Jonathan Freese, a Great Mills student, told CNN.
“The police came and responded really quickly,” Freese said. “They had a lot of officers respond.”
Mollie Davis, who identified herself on Twitter as a student at Great Mills, posted a series of tweets about the shooting.
“Now my school is the target,” she said. “WHY DO WE LET THIS KEEP HAPPENING??? I’m so tired, I’m so tired.”
“You never think it’ll be your school and then it is,” Davis said. “Great Mills is a wonderful school and somewhere I am proud to go. Why us?“
The Great Mills incident comes about five weeks after a shooting at a Florida high school left 14 students and three adult staff members dead.
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School launched a grassroots campaign for gun control following the shooting.
They have organized an event on Saturday called “March For Our Lives,” which is expected to turn out large crowds in US cities, with the main event in Washington.
Emma Gonzalez, a Stoneman Douglas student, tweeted her support Tuesday for her peers at Great Mills.
“We are Here for you, students of Great Mills,” Gonzalez said. “Together we can stop this from ever happening again.”
Under the banner #ENOUGH, tens of thousands of US high school students walked out of classrooms around the country on March 14 to protest gun violence.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan pledged to provide assistance.
“Our prayers are with students, school personnel and first responders,” Hogan said in a tweet.


Macron fires bodyguard filmed beating protester; critics say too late

Updated 12 min 22 sec ago
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Macron fires bodyguard filmed beating protester; critics say too late

  • Alexandre Benalla, who as Macron’s top bodyguard has long been a fixture by his side, was taken into custody for police questioning over the incident, which took place when Benalla appeared at May Day protests in a riot helmet and police tags.
  • Lawmakers have launched a parliamentary inquiry into the incident itself, the lenient initial punishment and the failure of the authorities to report Benalla promptly to the judiciary.

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron fired the head of his personal security detail on Friday but faced criticism for failing to act sooner, after a video was released showing the man posing as a police officer and beating a protester while off duty in May.
Alexandre Benalla, who as Macron’s top bodyguard has long been a fixture by his side, was taken into custody for police questioning over the incident, which took place when Benalla appeared at May Day protests in a riot helmet and police tags.
He had initially been suspended for just 15 days and allowed to return to work. Just days ago he was seen in public helping to organize security for celebrations for the return of France’s World Cup champion soccer team.
Lawmakers have launched a parliamentary inquiry into the incident itself, the lenient initial punishment and the failure of the authorities to report Benalla promptly to the judiciary.
In the footage, which was released on Wednesday by Le Monde newspaper, Benalla can be seen dragging a woman away from a protest and later beating a male demonstrator. On Friday, French media released a second video which showed Benalla also manhandling the woman.
He had been given permission by the president’s office to attend the protests as an observer of the security operation, but had no authorization to take part in police work.
The president’s office brushed off accusations that it had responded only because the nearly three-month-old videos had become public. It said the decision had now been taken to fire Benalla because the bodyguard had improperly obtained a document while trying to make his case over the accusations.
“New facts that could constitute a misdemeanour by Alexandre Benalla were brought to the president’s attention,” an official at the presidential palace told Reuters. “As a result ... the presidency has decided to start Alexandre Benalla’s dismissal procedure.”
Critics of Macron called the president’s delayed response a characteristic sign that he is out of touch. It follows controversies over government spending on official crockery, a swimming pool at a presidential retreat and cutting remarks by the president about the costs of welfare.
After hours of debate in the lower house on Thursday, lawmakers agreed to launch a parliamentary inquiry.
“Why did he protect this person? Does he head up a parallel police force? Refusing to answer makes (Macron) complicit in these acts of violence,” Eric Ciotti, a senior member of the conservative Republicans party, said on Twitter.