A 14-year-old has been charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder after an elementary school shooting that took place in South Carolina. The suspect is named Jesse Osborne, 14.
The incident happened on the afternoon of September 28 at Townville Elementary School, located about 40 miles southwest of Greenville. The school’s address is 105 State Road S-4-565 in Townville, Anderson County, not far from the Georgia border.
Authorities received a call about the shooting at 1:44 p.m. The call was for an “active shooter” at the school. In total, four people were shot. Two people were killed, one person was named as Osborne’s father, Jeffrey Osborne, 47. He was found dead at the family’s home not far from the school. The others shot were two 6-year-old students at the school and a teacher. Officials say that the gunman encountered first-grade teacher Meghan Hollingswoth just outside the school, she was leading her class into the playground. The gunfire erupted as she tried to usher her students back into their classroom.
On October 1, 6-year-old Jacob Hall succumbed to his injuries four days after being shot at Townville elementary.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Witness Said the Gunman Was Firing Into the Air Saying ‘I Hate My Life’ Repeatedly; While Reports Say Jeffrey Osborne Had Convictions for Domestic Abuse
An 8-year-old witness told WSPA’s Addie Hampton that they saw the gunman shooting into the air in the school’s playground. While doing so, the witness says that the suspect was shouting “I hate my life” repeatedly.
Anderson County Deputy Chief Keith Smith told the media that the shooter never got to the school. He was apprehended around 2 p.m., around 15 minutes after the initial call.
The coroner says that the suspect called his grandmother prior to the 911 call going in. While Sheriff John Skipper said that the gunman was crying when he made the call. After that, his grandmother went to the Osborne’s home where she found her son, Jeffrey Osborne, dead. The suspect is accused of taking his father’s pickup truck to Townville elementary.
A family spokesman told Fox Carolina’s Andrew Reeser that there were “no problems” between Osborne and his father. The Daily Mail reports that Jeffrey Osborne had convictions for “domestic abuse, possessing marijuana and had been declared bankrupt.”
Osborne was stopped by volunteer firefighter Jamie Brock. Emergency services director Taylor Jones said that Brock “risked his life” to stop the suspect. The weapon used was a handgun.
Brock told the media the day after the shooting, “The true heroes…are the teachers that put their lives on the line to protect their students…They deserve to be called heroes and to them I tip my hat.”
2. He Was Being Homeschooled After Being Expelled in 2015 for Attacking a Student With a Hatchet
Deputy Chief Scott told the media that Osborne was homeschooled. Investigators say there is no connection between the suspect and Townville Elementary School. WSPA reports that Osborne was expelled from middle school for allegedly attacking another student with a hatchet in 2015. Osborne was an honor roll student whIle in elementary school.
One neighbor told Greenville News reporter Anna Lee that Jesse Osborne “seemed like the nicest kids.” Lee also reported that the family lived along Osborne Road amid a poultry farm, that the family operate, machinery and barns. She adds that the area is now besieged by investigators. That neighbor told Lee that a few nights before the shooting he heard gunshots coming from the Osborne’s home. The suspect’s grandparents also live along Osborne Road, according to Lee.
His brother, Ryan, has a different father. Ryan Brock is a physics student at the University of Texas in Austin. According to posts on their mother’s Facebook page, Osborne was active in playing baseball, running track, shooting Airsoft guns and fishing with his father.
In the wake of the shooting the family released a statement through Pastor James South that read:
Our entire family is absolutely shocked and saddened by the senseless actions of our son and grandson.
We are praying and will continue to do so for the two precious children who were wounded, and for their courageous teacher who was wounded while rescuing the children.
We cannot express the devastation we feel at the loss of our beloved Jeff.
We are thankful to have friends who have expressed their sympathy and support 2 Tiffney that the loss of her husband. Please pray for our family that the Lord will help us as we face this unimaginable ordeal.
3. Osborne Could Be Tried as an Adult
In a hearing on September 30, Osborne was charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder. So far he is being charged as a juvenile, although that could change at a later date. Mike Ellis of the Independent Mail, who was present in the courtroom, said that Osborne’s “family members” were in the courtroom and were “dabbing their eyes.”
According to South Carolina law, minors are deemed as someone under the age of 15. Anybody 16 years or older is considered an adult. Jesse Osborne is 14. Sheriff Skipper says that Osborne will appear at a Family County detention hearing on September 30.
Kent Collins law says:
In some cases, someone 15 or younger may be tried as an adult. In such situations, a prosecutor makes this recommendation, and a judge decides what to do.
The judge takes into account various factors such as the defendant’s school records, behavior at home, prior offenses and the seriousness of the current charge.
Osborne, who is being represented by attorney Frank Eppes, is not allowed to be interviewed without a lawyer present, a judge ruled today. The warrants in the case were also sealed by a judge.
4. One 6-Year-Old Victim ‘Died Twice’ as Doctor’s Tried to Stablize Him
The teacher who was wounded during the incident has been discharged from AnMed health, hours after the shooting. WSPA reports that one student was shot in the leg, another in the foot and the teacher was wounded in the shoulder. One of the students has also been released a from an area hospital. The Independent Mail’s Mike Ellis reports that another 6-year-old remains in critical condition. He has been named as 6-year-old Jacob Hall.
According to a family friend, Alan Clemmons:
The bullet ripped through little Jacob’s femoral artery. He died twice, and was revived, during medical transport and again during surgery.
He’s in ICU now where a team of doctors are working to stabilize him. Once stabilized, he will face yet another surgery.
A statement from Hall’s parents, Rodger and Renae, read:
We appreciate the community’s support, especially the Townville Rescue Squad who treated Jacob onsite and brought him to the hospital. We appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers and ask for privacy during this difficult time.
A Go Fund Me page for Hall has raised over $126,000 at the time of writing.
WYFF reported that Hall passed away on the afternoon of October 1. His mother, Renae Hall, wrote on her Facebook page:
You are dead to me by God you are my angel and now as I lay here and Watch the Life leave your body it reminds me of how honored I was to have you in my life.
While South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley wrote on Twitter, “Jacob Hall was a smart, beautiful boy with a contagious smile and strong faith. A beloved son and brother, Jacob will be missed but never forgotten. Our hearts are broken for Jacob’s family. Please join Michael and me in lifting them up in prayer during his challenging time.”
As a tribute to little Jacob Hall, there was a moment of remembrance before the Louisville v Clemson game on the night of October 1.
The wounded teacher has been named a first-grade educator Meghan Hollingsworth. She has been a Townsville Elementary School since 2007. Her husband also teaches in the area.
5. The School Had Practiced an Active Shooter Drill Less Than a Week Before the Shooting
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said in a Facebook post that Townville Elementary School had an active shooter drill less than a week before the shooting.
There are 286 students enrolled at Townville Elementary School. The classes range from pre-kindergarten to 6th grade. The last school shooting incident in the area occurred in May 2016 when a teenager was accidentally shot at Southside High School in Greenville County. Four students were charged in that incident, reported WYFF.