DERWOOD, Md. — Students at Magruder High School in Derwood are reflecting on a traumatic day of school on Friday.
The school was in lockdown for several hours after a 17-year-old student shot his 15-year-old classmate, according to Montgomery County Police Department. The 15-year-old is recovering in the hospital, police say.
The shooter was identified as Steven Alston Jr. who faces several charges as an adult related to attempted murder, assault, use of a firearm and more.
Lockdown started at 1:05 p.m. Friday. Students and teachers stopped what they were doing to secure themselves in classrooms as police searched the building for Alston. On the outside, there were dozens of law enforcement vehicles with sirens blaring.
WUSA9 spoke to a 10th grader at Magruder who said inside the building during lockdown there was sheer silence.
“I've never heard a group of teenagers so silent before. No one was crying. I think we all knew that we had to stay calm in a situation like this,” the 10th grader said. (During her conversation with WUSA9 she asked not to go on camera and that we don’t use her name.)
The 10th grader said she never imagined she’d be a part of a school shooting and have this story—an indelible memory—to share.
Alston was found after 3 p.m. and was taken into police custody. MCPD said in a statement, “A privately manufactured firearm (ghost gun) was found inside the school.”
During the search and events following, students inside the locked classrooms didn’t know what happened until hours later.
"After like the first two hours, we were all watching the live footage on the news, I think that's when we knew, when we saw the SWAT cars coming, we knew that everything was going to be okay," the 10th grader told WUSA9.
Frantically waiting by the phone for any updates and pulling together all their resources, the 10th grade student’s father told WUSA9 his worries were eased knowing his daughter was physically unharmed.
"When she finally got home, you know, obviously a blessing to be able to hold her," he said.
On Saturday, Montgomery County Public Schools offered virtual counseling for students and will continue to provide resources in the weeks to come.
MCPS students have no school on Monday because it’s an end of quarter grading and planning day for teachers. The 10th grade Magruder student admitted she feels anxious about returning to school Tuesday.
“[I’m d]efinitely scared to come back on Tuesday, a little bit nervous,” she said. “But I have faith that MCPS will handle this the best that they can.”
Knowing that students are anxious about returning to Magruder, the MCPS community is showing its support.
Rockville High School Principal Rhoshanda Pyles tweeted a graphic encouraging students to wear white and navy colors Tuesday as a symbol of standing with the Magruder community. Pyles’ tweet has since been retweeted and shared by several other MCPS school and principal accounts encouraging their schools to do the same.
The Magruder school Twitter account tweeted it's thanks in response to the graphic, and soon after posted, "We will not be defined by one incident."