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Community Rallies Around Townville Elementary

In the aftermath of the shooting at Townville Elementary School on Wednesday, residents of the small, rural community have come together to rise above the tragedy, proclaiming themselves and their city #TownvilleStrong.

That strength was tested Saturday when news broke that Jacob Hall, a first-grader at Townville Elementary, had succumbed to his injuries. Hall suffered from a gunshot wound to the leg which struck his femoral artery on Wednesday. According to his family, he suffered massive blood loss at the scene that eventually proved too much to overcome. 

“Jacob came into our lives six years and four months ago and changed it completely,” Renae and Rodger Hall said in a statement released Saturday. “He showed us how to love, laugh and smile even on days we did not want to. God gave him to us and he was taken away from us by a senseless act. We know that Jacob has already forgiven this child for what he did to him and his family because that’s the kind of child he was.”

On Wednesday afternoon, a teenage gunman opened fire at Townville Elementary School, injuring three. Officials say that the teenage suspect also shot and killed his father, identified as 47-year-old Jeffrey Osborne, at their home. 

According to Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore, the teen called his grandmother’s cellphone at 1:44 p.m. on Wednesday. The grandparents couldn’t understand what was going on because he was “crying and upset”, so they went to his home just a couple hundred yards away. When they got there, they found Osborne dead and their grandson gone.

About one minute later, authorities received a 911 call from a teacher at the school, which is attended by around 300 students from pre-kindergarten up through the sixth-grade.

Authorities believe the teen shot his father at their home before driving a pickup truck three miles down the road to Townville Elementary, where he crashed the truck, exited the vehicle and fired at a door as it was being opened for recess. The bullets struck two students and a teacher. 

Both other victims survived their gunshot wounds and were released from the hospital the day of the shooting. 


Jamie Brock, a 30-year veteran of the Townville Volunteer Fire Department, was one of the first on the scene. He was unarmed when he confronted the shooter and held him down until police could take him into custody, according to Townville Fire Chief Billy McAdams.

Brock has declined media interviews, saying he wants the focus to remain on the victims. In a statement read by McAdams at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, he said that the “true heroes of yesterday’s senseless tragedy are the teachers who put their lives on the line to protect the students. They deserve to be called the heroes, and I tip my hat to them.”

The 14 year-old suspect, whose identity has not been officially released by the sheriff’s office, appeared in court Friday morning. He is charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder. Authorities say they don’t yet know a motive for the shooting and they were not sure if the students and teacher were targeted or shot randomly.

The incident is the latest in a series of shootings at U.S. schools that has fueled debate about access to guns in America. Many schools have increased security precautions since 2012, when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 children and six adults. 

According to Anderson School District four Superintendent Joanne Avery, Townville does not have a school resource officer. However, the school is equipped with security cameras and a door locking system. The school had conducted an active shooter drill just a few days before the shooting, according to a Facebook post from Senator Lindsey Graham. Classes at Townville will resume on Thursday, October 6. 

During that time, the local community has rallied around Townville to show support as the town begins to heal. 

Within hours of the shooting, a GoFundMe page was set up for Jacob Hall. More than $120,000 had been raised before Hall’s family shut it down Saturday morning. An additional GoFundMe page, Help for Collin, has been set up to raise money for the other student injured in the shooting. 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office’s Hyco K9 fund is also donating stuffed K-9s “to make the first day back to school a little easier and a little less scary for the children at Townville Elementary.” Each student will receive a K-9 plush with a tag that reads, “As Hyco did, all Anderson County Sheriff’s K-9’s do and every K-9 does, this K-9 will help protect you, comfort you and be your friend. Your K-9 has been trained already so no need to worry, all you have to do is to be sure to give your pup the perfect name.” 

Over the weekend, Clemson students made cards for those affected by the tragedy and signed a banner that was sent to the school. The Clemson University Education Class of 2018 is also sponsoring a supply drive through October 6. They are accepting donations of stuffed animals, coloring books, school supplies and cards. Donation boxes are located across campus.

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