Officials learned of the tragic situation when a school resource officer at Tanglewood Middle School heard gunfire and quickly called for “emergency backup.” Those details were released by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
In a statement from the sheriff’s office, the victim was identified by family members as Jamari Cortez Bonaparte Jackson and he was fatally shot by another 12-year-old student who then fled the scene.
Jackson was unfortunately pronounced dead after being rushed to a local hospital.
Hours later, officials found the suspect “underneath a deck” about two miles away from where the crime took place according to Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis. A handgun was also said to have been in his possession. In a news conference, the sheriff went on to say, “He was hiding. He’s a young man, probably didn’t understand the consequences of what had just happened. I don’t think he knew what to do, honestly, except for to leave the school.”
Jackson’s family gave a statement to Greenville-based organization Fighting Injustice Together saying, “We are all devastated by today’s tragedy, we love Jamari dearly and we would ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time.”
Superintendent of the Greenville County Schools, Burke Royster, spoke on the troubling incident: “It’s a senseless tragedy and unfortunately one that occurs all too often in today’s society where people perhaps resort to violence. And it has a lasting impact on all those that are in proximity to it.”
Authorities believe this was an isolated event as no other injuries had been reported and the two 12-year-olds were “familiar with each other.”
Because the alleged shooter is a minor, his identity has been withheld, but the sheriff’s office has said he faces several weapons charges, including possession of a weapon by a person under the age of 18 along with one count of murder.