CHEVERLY, Md. - Jaelynn Willey, the 16-year-old girl who was shot inside a Maryland high school, has died.
News of her death came in a statement on Friday from the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office who spoke on behalf of the Willey family. "It is with heavy hearts and great sadness we provide this update," the statement read. Authorities said Willey was surrounded by her family when she died on Thursday night at around 11:30 p.m.
Earlier on Thursday night, Willey's family said Jaelynn would be taken off life support after it was determined she was brain dead. At a press conference, her mother, Melissa Willey, spoke publicly for the first time about her daughter.
"On Tuesday of this past week, our lives changed completely and totally forever," Melissa said. She revealed that Jaelynn had been shot in the head during the attack. "She is brain dead and has no life left in her."
Willey was shot and wounded in a hallway at Great Mills High School on March 20 by suspected gunman, 17-year-old Austin Rollins, officials said. She was transported to the University of Maryland Prince George's Hospital Center and had been in critical condition.
Authorities said Rollins also shot 14-year-old Desmond Barnes in the leg before being killed during the attack. It remains unclear whether he committed suicide or was shot by a school resource officer who responded to the attack.
Barnes' family released a statement saying:
We remain deeply saddened and shocked by this shooting incident and continue to pray for the other victim and her family during this difficult time. We are also praying for the entire Great Mills High School family and young people around this country. As a community and nation, we must continue to work and fight for a world that is safe for our children.
We would like to extend our heartful thanks to the Great Mills High School staff and students, local police and medical staff who played a part in Desmond's safety and care along with the countless people who have been fervently praying for Desmond and our family.
Officials said the gun used by Rollins during the school shooting was legally owned by his father. It is illegal in Maryland for any person under the age of 21 to possess a handgun unless it is required for their employment.
A YouCaring fundraising page created for Willey's family has raised more than $72,000 since the shooting.