Story highlights

Teen made call a minute before he started shooting at school, authorities say

Father killed earlier; a teacher and two students suffered injuries, they say

CNN  — 

A minute before a teen allegedly opened fire at an elementary school playground in South Carolina, he called his grandparents’ cell phone, sobbing and mumbling unintelligibly, authorities say.

It was 1:44 p.m. local time.

They could barely hear him because of his crying, CNN affiliate WYFF-TV reported. So they headed next door to his house to check on him.

Instead the grandparents found their son – the teen’s father – dead in the home. Jeffrey Osborne, 47, suffered fatal gunshot wounds, Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said.

At about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, a teacher called 911 to report a shooting at the playground behind nearby Townville Elementary School

The school is southwest of Greenville – near the Georgia line.

What happened?

Police say the shooting started in a parking lot by the Townville Elementary School playground.

The teen allegedly drove a Dodge Ram onto school property and jumped a fence to access the playground, according to CNN affiliate WHNS-TV. It said he never entered the school.

By the time the gunfire stopped, he had wounded two students and a teacher, authorities said.

Deputies detained the teen, who was not identified because he is a minor, after a volunteer firefighter took him down.

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Shooter in SC elementary school shooting in custody
00:50 - Source: WYFF

The teacher and other student injured were released that evening after being treated at a local health center, hospital officials said.

3 wounded, father dead

The father, who was identified as Jeffrey Osborne, 47, suffered fatal gunshot wounds, Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said.

At the elementary school two miles away, one male student was critically injured with a gunshot to the leg, and another boy was struck in the foot. A female teacher was wounded in the shoulder, sheriff’s Capt. Garland Major said.

The teacher and one student were treated at a local health center and released Wednesday evening, hospital spokesman Ross Norton told CNN. A third victim was transported to a hospital in critical condition, officials said.

“As long as his heart’s beating, we’ve got hope,” his great-aunt Rebecca Hunnicutt told WHNS.

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Preparing for mass shootings
02:32 - Source: CNN

‘There was a bunch of kids crying’.

The teen started firing after getting out of his vehicle, Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper said.

It appeared he was headed toward the school, but teachers locked doors to prevent him from getting in, authorities said.

Jamie Meredith, the mother of a student at the school, told WYFF that her daughter and classmates hid in a bathroom.

“I don’t know how they knew to go in the bathroom, but I know her teacher was shaken up. I know all the kids were scared. There was a bunch of kids crying. She didn’t talk for about five minutes when I got her.”

It is unclear whether the teen in custody knew any of the school victims. The motive for the shooting is unclear, but terrorism has been ruled out, authorities said. CNN has not determined whether the teen has an attorney.

Longtime firefighter helped save lives

School nurses and emergency responders saved the life of the boy who was shot in the leg, said Scott Stoller, the director of Emergency Medical Services in Anderson County.

“Training, proper equipment is absolutely critical and without their early intervention the outcome would have been very different,” he said.

One of the people credited with saving lives is firefighter Jamie Brock. The 30-year veteran volunteer firefighter, who was not armed, took down the suspect on the playground, WYFF reported. Brock declined to talk to the media.

Active shooter training

The school has no video cameras, according to Joanne Avery, superintendent for Anderson County District 4. She told WYFF that the staff had undergone active-shooter training, which proved useful during the shooting.

“We are heartbroken about this senseless act of violence,” Avery said

Townville Elementary canceled classes for the rest of the week and is providing counseling services.

The school has about 280 students and 30 school employees, according to its website.

The firefighter, Jamie Brock, declined to meet with the media, but Stoller said the man said he did nothing any other firefighter wouldn’t have done.

CNN’s Steve Almasy, Keith Allen, AnneClaire Stapleton, Tony Marco and Emanuella Grinberg contributed to this report.