GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A student died after being shot Thursday afternoon at a Greenville County middle school and another student was charged.
According to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, the school resource officer at Tanglewood Middle School requested emergency backup at 12:23 p.m. after hearing shots were fired.
After arriving on scene, the sheriff’s office said deputies learned that the gunfire was from a 12-year-old student who shot another 12-year-old student in the 700 wing of the school.
The victim was shot at least one time and treated by the school resource officer and school staff before being taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Deputies began a search in the area of the school. Just before 1:30 p.m., they learned that the possible suspect was at a residence in the 3000 block of Old Easley Bridge Road.
When deputies arrived, they found the suspect hiding under a deck. He was taken into custody and a handgun was recovered.
The suspect 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 is being transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia.
The sheriff’s office said over 100 deputies were on scene trying to identify the shooter at one point.
Community activist Bruce Wilson, a family friend, identified the student as 12-year-old Jamari Cortez Bonaparte Jackson.
Wilson passed along a statement from the Jackson family asking for privacy while they grieve.
“We are all devastated by today’s tragedy,” said the family 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 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.”
Greenville County Schools said deputies were not looking for any additional suspects and that the school building had been secured.
Deputies said that the two 12-year-olds were familiar with each other and that they are confident the incident was isolated.
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
Students were taken to Brookwood Church in Simpsonville where parents were reunited with their children.
Greenville County Schools said Friday will be an optional day for students at Tanglewood Middle School in order to provide “counseling support for both students and staff.”
“Our goal with being open tomorrow is not to have a day of instruction, but so we can have supports available to both students and staff that would not be otherwise available at home,” said the district in a statement.
The school’s regular schedule will resume Monday, April 4.