SCHOOL SAFETY Instead of providing front entrance security for schools, St. Mary’s Commissioners blew millions on artificial turf for high school stadiums after a fatal shooting at Great Mills High School in 2018; five years later, not all schools have been secured

SCHOOL SAFETY Instead of providing front entrance security for schools, St. Mary’s Commissioners blew millions on artificial turf for high school stadiums after a fatal shooting at Great Mills High School in 2018; five years later, not all schools have been secured

THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY leads regional news coverage of the five-year mark of the Murder at Great Mills High School and the failure to protect all schools from psychos








LEONARDTOWN, MD – The St. Mary’s County Commissioners have yet to fully secure the entrances to the twenty-four public schools a full five years after a Great Mills High School student brought his father’s gun to school and murdered the girl who had dumped him from a relationship and then shot himself when approached by a school resource officer.

On January 10, 2023, the St. Mary’s County Commissioners approved a grant request which provides $186,000 to secure the front entrances to Dynard and Hollywood Elementary Schools and provide enhancements to the cellular reception for Great Mills, Leonardtown, Forest Tech Center, and Chopticon High Schools.

 St. Mary’s Commissioner Mike Hewitt (R. Hollywood, Leonardtown) said at the meeting that he wanted a list of all schools not yet protected, indicating that he had a secret plan to fund the needed security at the schools left unprotected over the past five years while sports fields were paved with fake turf to the tune of millions of taxpayers’ dollars. Since Hewitt was in his first term as a commissioner when the murder/suicide took place at Great Mills High School, perhaps his plan to secure the schools has been a secret to him until this week.

Leonardtown High School was used as a receiving area for Great Mills High students evacuated by a caravan of school buses from the March 20, 2018, murder scene at Great Mills High School to be reunited with their parents. With nearly four thousand people suddenly descending upon the school, cell phone service quickly deteriorated, adding greatly to the panic already ensuing.

The tragedy unfolded when Austin Wyatt Rollins was able to walk into the front door of Great Mills High School at the beginning of the school day with his father’s Glock handgun, confront Jaelynn Willey, who had recently ended their relationship, and shoot her. Jaelyn Willey died on March 24, 2018, at 11:34 pm when life support was ended at a trauma center. Rollins’s gunfire also wounded another student, Desmond Barnes, 15, hitting him with a non-lethal wound in his thigh. When School Resource Officer Deputy Sheriff Blaine Gaskill confronted Rollins inside the school at 7:56 am, Sheriff Tim Cameron said that Gaskill and Rollins both fired at the same time, and Rollins shot himself.

Evidence indicates that at approximately 7:57 am on March 20, 2018, Austin Rollins fired a single shot from a handgun in Great Mills High School Hallway F, striking Jaelynn Willey and Desmond Barnes. Rollins continued walking through the school and was confronted by the School Resource Officer, Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, in Hallway D. Rollins fired one fatal shot to his head; simultaneously, DFC. Gaskill also fired one non-fatal shot, which struck the weapon in Rollins’ hand. Rollins was taken to the hospital in LaPlata, where he was pronounced dead at 10:41 am on March 20, 2018.

As the media and politicians, including U. S. Senator Ben Cardin, and Governor Larry Hogan, all descended upon Great Mills High School to pursue both news reporting and political goals, St. Mary’s Commissioner President Randy Guy showed up on the scene and was interviewed by WUSA reporter Bruce Johnson. Johnson asked Guy if the county would provide metal detectors to prevent students from bringing guns to school, and Guy replied that the county didn’t have the money to do so, but if the State of Maryland wanted to give the county the money, it was okay with him.

On February 28, 2018, Governor Hogan announced that $125 million for school safety enhancements were being provided in annual grants in new funding as part of an executive order.

Leonardtown High School mass shooter plotters had access to these guns.

 “There is no more important job than keeping our citizens safe – especially our children. In the wake of the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, citizens here in our state and all across America want to know what the government at all levels is doing to keep our children safe, and what we are collectively doing to stop gun violence and violent crime,” said Governor Hogan. “Classrooms should never be a place of fear for our children. No mom or dad should ever have to worry when they send their kids off to school whether their son or daughter is going to come home safely.”

In his 2018 announcement, Governor Hogan said his order would bolster school security efforts in the state; Governor Hogan announced that the administration would commit an additional $125 million to accelerate and enhance safety improvements in schools, including secure doors and windows, metal detectors, security cameras, panic buttons, and other capital improvements, as well as an additional $50 million in operating funds each year for new school safety grants, which could be used for school resource officers, counselors, and additional safety technology. The funding will be allocated through the governor’s education lockbox proposal, which provides an additional $4.4 billion in education spending from casino revenues.

Politics as Usual: St. Mary’s County Commissioner President Randy Guy Shuffles the Blame on Lack of Metal Detectors While Sitting on Emergency Reserves

St. Mary’s County Commissioner President Randy Guy was interviewed across the street from the Great Mills High School complex on the evening of the fatal school shooting by WUSA News Anchor Bruce Johnson. Randy Guy wasn’t the only politician rushing for a chance to promote an agenda as Congressman Steny Hoyer sped to the scene to advance the national Democratic Party’s campaign against the NRA and to attempt to harness the newly prominent views of young people who are scared to death in their schools. U. S. Senator Ben Cardin also managed to mimic Hoyer and the Democratic talking points. Neither provided any quick solution to providing metal detectors and were in Great Mills only to mine votes before a national TV audience.  Guy, Hoyer, and Cardin were all up for reelection in 2018.


Why did Randy Guy lie to reporters about the resources of St. Mary’s County available to secure schools?

St Mary’s Commissioner President Randy Guy interview with WUJSA 9 news anchor Bruce Johnson

One Guy Could Have Provided

 Metal Detectors Immediately

St. Mary’s Commissioner President Randy Guy recited a few lines about the terrible shooting and how everyone was sorry about the tragedy.

Johnson then asked Commissioner President Guy to tell him about the hero Deputy Sheriff who put a stop to the shooting with an immediate response and exchange of gunfire with the killer.

“I don’t want to put his name out there, have his name all over,” said Guy, even though Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill was identified by the Sheriff’s Department several hours earlier, and his photo had been circulated on news outlets around the world.

More than an effort to protect Deputy Gaskill from gaining notoriety, it was clear that perhaps Commissioner Guy just didn’t remember the name of Dfc. Gaskill.  Being interviewed on a Washington TV News station is somewhat new for the then-first-term county commissioner.

However, Guy gave DFC Gaskill, being hailed nationwide as a hero, a rousing endorsement for his skills and training and put in a big plug for what a fine Sheriff Tim Cameron is in providing excellent training for the school resource officers. Cameron then paraded DFC Gaskill around the state and to an out-of-state sheriff’s conference as a hero in spite of the fact that the killer in the school shot himself in the head.

Then Johnson asked Commissioner Guy what measures that St. Mary’s County would take to improve school safety.

Guy continued to talk about how Sheriff Cameron goes out and talks to the community and prepares and trains tactical teams for St. Mary’s as well as other areas.

“And yet a student was able to smuggle a Glock into the school?” asked Johnson.

“Yes, a Glock is a standard handgun for many people and is made of plastic and steel,” said Guy, “and we do not have any metal detectors.”

“Do you need them; do you want them?” asked Johnson.

Randy Guy, when asked by WUSA News on installing metal detectors in schools:

“You know what, if the Federal government will give us the money. If our legislators and Senators come down with the money, we’ll be glad to put them in.”

“You know what if the Federal government will give us the money. If our legislators and Senators come down with the money, we’ll be glad to put them in.”

Instead of pressing Guy further to explain why the County government can’t fund metal detectors and make schools as safe as the courthouses, and clearly not aware of how the St. Mary’s Commissioners blows a lot of money on discretionary spending, he offered:

“You have a finite amount of money.”

“Yes, you do as much as you can to harden the entrance, make a single point of entry, install vestibules. That’s up to the federal government and the State of Maryland to provide funds; we don’t have any funds for that.”

Guy said, “you’ve got to do something to harden the entrance to the schools, but you have 1300 people coming into the school with backpacks.”

Johnson asked him where the money is coming from to make the entrances and the schools safe.

What Commissioner Guy either did not know at the time or care to tell Johnson was that the St. Mary’s Commissioners were sitting on a reserve of over $51,750,899, which could have been used to immediately safeguard all of the county’s schools with enhanced security.

According to the figures released in the Board Docs of the St. Mary’s Commissioners on January 10, 2023, the current reserves of St. Mary’s County are $56,446,852, which is 20.0 percent of revenues.

The presentation to the St. Mary’s Commissioners on January 10, 2023, by St. Mary’s Public Schools Chief of Safety and Security F. Michael Wyant, was intended to bring the Board up to date on the latest grant obtained to add security to public schools.


Threats to Schools Continue in 2023

Dear LHS Community:

(Jan. 9, 2023) I am contacting you to share that LHS administration and the SMCPS Department of Safety and Security have been made aware of a threatening message that was sent to an LHS student.  The threat was directed towards a specific student.  The threat was not made by a current LHS student. 

The Department of Safety and Security and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s department are investigating.  

Please know that we take all potential threats seriously and will continue to coordinate with the sheriff’s office to investigate and identify the credibility of this message.  There is currently no active threat to the school.  This incident did not impact our instructional day.

If you have additional information regarding this matter,

 please contact the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s office at 301-475-8008.

We will make every effort to provide an update as quickly

 and accurately as possible.


Jamie Copsey



2nd Threat in a Week at Leonardtown High School

Dear LHS Community:

(Jan. 12, 2023) I am disappointed to have to contact you for the second time this week.  But, I felt it important to share that the LHS administration and the SMCPS Department of Safety and Security have been made aware of an instagram account that is posting and messaging hateful and threatening messages.

LHS Administration, the SMCPS Department of Safety and Security, and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s department are investigating.

I want to assure you that this account is in no way affiliated with or sanctioned by Leonardtown High School.  We encourage students not to interact with this account.  Anyone receiving a message from this account is encouraged to screenshot the message and share it with LHS Administration ( and Office of Safety and Security.

I would also like to share that we did determine the source of the threatening message from Monday and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office is taking appropriate action.

As always, please know that we take all potential threats seriously and will continue to coordinate with the Department of Safety and Security and the Sheriff’s Office to investigate and identify the source of this account. 

If you have additional information regarding this matter, please contact the Office of Safety and Security or Leonardtown High School at 301-475-0200.

Jamie Copsey


Without any discussion, the St. Mary’s Commissioners approved a command position change from a civilian post to a sworn position at the rank of captain.

The appointment of the chief of staff by former Sheriff Cameron was to enable a black to achieve a rank higher than that of sergeant for the first time in the history of the Sheriff’s Department of St. Mary’s County.

 Former Sheriff Tim Cameron was unable to allow any black deputy to rise above the rank of sergeant, such as achieved by Sgt. Harold Young, joining Sgt. Ernest Carter, both now retired, hired retired Charles County Sheriff commander Brian Eley as a civilian administrator.  Eley was provided a St. Mary’s County vehicle to drive back and forth to his home in Virginia, even though Sheriff personnel are not allowed to take their police cars out of the county.

Brian Eley commander Admin Division 240 577 4294

Administrator Eley quit in 2014 when Sheriff Troy Berry won the election in Charles County and hired Eley as his Assistant Sheriff.

Former Major and Assistant Sheriff of Operations in Charles County Sheriff’s Department, Marvin Butler, was hired by former Sheriff Cameron in August of 2018 as the new Chief of Staff of St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department as a civilian. As of January 12, 2023, the Sheriff’s Department list of commanders on the agency website shows Marvin Butler as Chief of Staff in civilian clothes, and no one else is listed as Captain and Chief of Staff. Butler is believed to have left the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department, and the Sheriff’s website doesn’t celebrate his service or recognize his departure.

Thus, the path to promotion to the highest ranks in the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department for a black is to be promoted to command positions in Charles County, retire, and then be hired in St. Mary’s to have a photo of someone other than a fat white guy on the wall in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Headquarters.


From the Commissioner’s record of the January 10, 2023 Meeting:


  • I move to reclassify the Chief of Staff position to a Sworn Captain position as requested by the Sheriff’s Office.
  • Motion by Commissioner Michael L Hewitt, second by Commissioner Eric Colvin.
  • Final Resolution: Motion Carries
  • Yea: Commissioner President James R Guy, Commissioner Eric Colvin, Commissioner Michael L Hewitt, Commissioner Michael R Alderson Jr, Commissioner Scott R Ostrow.


During her first week in office, St. Mary’s County States Attorney Jaymi Sterling won approval from the St. Mary’s Commissioner s for a new merit position to hire a communications director and, in the process, lost their own director of communications.

 ALisa Casas, who has guided the seamless operation of the St. Mary’s Commissioner’s public affairs office for the past four years, is the newly hired director of communications for States Attorney Sterling. Casas is a veteran of media operations for private operations in the region, including cable television, radio stations, defense contractors, and religious groups.

Casas is organizing a new look for communications for the St. Mary’s States Attorney’s Office to bring it into the twenty-first century and shake out all the dust that has accumulated under the administration of the former prosecutor, Richard Fritz.  

Profiles of the assistant state’s attorneys and their duties will soon appear.  

Since Casas led the communications in all forms, especially the much-improved video productions of St. Mary’s County public meetings out of the stone ages, her background should prove valuable to bringing the administration of justice in St. Mary’s County to a much-needed improvement.  

During the 2022 election campaign, Richard Fritz sent a staffer on a torching of anything on the States Attorney’s Facebook page that featured cases involving Jaymi Sterling during the years she worked in the office as the lead prosecutor.  The attempted cleansing of the contents of the Facebook page was part of Fritz’s attempt to make voters believe that she never prosecuted serious cases or played a significant role in the functions of the office.

The voters responded in the July 19th GOP primary by delivering Sterling a resounding victory, sending Fritz to the electoral hell he so richly deserved.

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