Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill had no back up, but that didn't stop him from confronting a high school shooter in Maryland Tuesday and opening fire.
"This is a tough guy who apparently closed in very quickly and took the right kind of action," said Gov. Larry Hogan at a news conference. "And while I think it's still tragic, he may have saved other people's lives,"
Gaskill fired once at 17-year-old Austin Rollins, authorities said. It is not yet clear whether Rollins died from the officer's bullet or killed himself.
Rollins shot a 16-year-old female, who was his former girlfriend and is now hospitalized in critical condition, and a 14-year-old boy, who is listed in good condition, authorities said.
Gaskill's quick actions were hailed as prime examples of what school resource officers are supposed to do when someone opens fire on campus.
"He responded exactly how we train our personnel to respond," said St. Mary's County Sheriff Tim Cameron.
Gaskill's performance sharply contrasted the reaction of a security officer on duty last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where 17 people were shot to death in a campus attack that has vehemently reignited the national debate over gun control.
"Gaskill fired at the shooter almost simultaneously as the shooter fired," Cameron said. "This is something we train, practice and in reality, hope would never come to fruition. This is our worst nightmare."
The deputy was not injured. He responded to the shootings in less than a minute and the whole incident was over within seconds, authorities said.
He also is a former SWAT team member.
"He's doing well and we're going to do everything to support and promote him and his well-being," Cameron said.