A firefighter prevented a suspected teenage gunman from entering a school shortly after he killed his own father in South Carolina yesterday.
The shooter is believed to have shot his father dead before moving on to a nearby primary school and opening fire in the car park with a handgun, wounding two pupils and a teacher.
Police said the youth, who is reported to be 14, is suspected of gunning down his 47-year-old father at their home about two miles from the school.
Then at about 1.45pm local time on Wednesday a pupil at the school was shot in the leg and another in the foot, before a female teacher was hit in the shoulder.
The teenage suspect, who has not been named, was prevented from entering Townville Elementary by veteran firefighter Jamie Brock, who also stopped him escaping.
The shooting has shocked the rural town, which is about 110 miles from Atlanta.
"Firefighter Brock is absolutely a hero," said Scott Stoller with Anderson County Emergency Management. But he says Brock "wants to remain humble and quiet about it" as he believes "he did nothing any of the other volunteer firefighters wouldn't have done".
One of the pupils and the teacher have been released from hospital, while Jacob Hall, who is reported to be aged six, remained in a critical condition in Greenville, where he was flown after the shooting.
His parents, Rodger and Renae Hall, said they appreciated the community's support, especially the emergency responders who treated Jacob and took him to the hospital.
Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said the suspect called his grandmother's mobile phone at 1.44pm on Wednesday, but she could not understand him as he was so upset.
The authorities say a teacher called 911 about a gunman at Townville Elementary about a minute after the teen phoned his grandmother.
The authorities did not release a motive for the shooting and said they were not sure if the students and teacher were targeted.
Governor Nikki Haley said: "As we work together with law enforcement to make sure they have the support they need to investigate what happened in Townville, Michael (Haley) and I ask that everyone across South Carolina join us in praying for the entire Townville Elementary School family and those touched by today's tragedy."