Gunman fired into SC school, but heroes stopped him and saved lives

Quick-thinking, well-trained, heroic teachers may have prevented another school massacre.

The 14-year-old boy who authorities say wounded a teacher and two pupils Wednesday at a South Carolina elementary school fired his weapon directly into a classroom but was prevented from getting inside, school administrators told NBC News.

The teacher and two boys were shot and wounded at Townville Elementary School in Anderson County, authorities said. One of the boys was critically wounded. The suspect's father was later found dead in his home.

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School shooting at Townville Elementary School in South Carolina
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School shooting at Townville Elementary School in South Carolina
We just got this press release from @oconeelaw confirming their response to the #TownvilleElementary shooting.…
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Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper said that the shooter never made it into the building but that it was possible that "some rounds went down a hallway or in a window."

They did, said Joanne Avery, superintendent of Anderson School District 4 — because the shooter fired "directly into a classroom."

"He tried to fire his way into the classroom," Avery told NBC News. But "he was never allowed to access the building, and that's because the staff knew how to lock down the school."

RELATED: 2 students, 1 teacher wounded in school shooting

The school was so tightly locked down, in fact, that "law enforcement said when they got there ... they couldn't even get into the building," she said.

Although they'd never dreamed that they'd ever need to put it to use, everyone at the school has been through active shooter response training, Avery said. And when the moment arose, "we were prepared."

That training probably saved the lives not only of many children inside the school, but also of the young unidentified boy who remained in critical condition Wednesday night at Greenville Health System Children's Hospital.

"Our school nurse and the other folks were right there and held that student's artery to keep him from bleeding out — they saved his life," Avery said.

"Clearly, without question, the staff and the principal acted instantly," she said. "And if they hadn't trained and known how to react in a situation like this, it could have been a much worse tragedy."

State School Superintendent Molly Spearman agreed, telling NBC News that the teachers and staff at Townville Elementary "love the children, and they took good care, and they saved children's lives today the way they reacted."

Even the teacher who was injured, who hasn't been identified, "reacted exactly as she should and got her children back inside the building to safety — so a lot of heroes today," Spearman said.

And not all of the heroes work at the school.

The shooter was subdued by Jamie Brock, a 30-year veteran of the Townville Volunteer Fire Department, who was one of the first people to arrive at the scene, said Scott Stoller, Anderson County's director of emergency medical services.

Brock managed to prevent the boy from firing even more shots and managed to take him down without using any weapons of his own, Stoller said.

Brock was refusing to accept praise because he insisted that he'd done "nothing no other firefighter wouldn't have been done," said Stoller — who was having none of it.

"Firefighter Brock is absolutely a hero to those of us in the community," he said.

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