A 12-year-old student has been shot dead inside a South Carolina middle school by another 12-year-old student on Thursday, March 31, authorities said.

The shooting happened at the Tanglewood Middle School in Greenville.

The victim’s family released a statement identifying the boy as Jamari Cortez Bonaparte Jackson, adding people to respect their privacy as they grieve.

"We are all devastated by today’s tragedy. We love Jamari dearly," the family said in a statement

The young shooter, who left the school immediately after the shooting, was taken into custody shortly after the police were called to the scene.

Deputies found him hiding under a deck at a residence not far away from the campus, according to the Greenville County Sheriff's Office. He was still armed when the officers found him. The handgun has been recovered, authorities said.

"He was hiding. He’s a young man, probably didn’t understand the consequences of what had just happened," Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis said at a news conference. "I don’t think he knew what to do, honestly, except for to leave the school."

The motive, as well as how the child obtained the gun, are still being investigated.

"I’m not sure after a full and thorough law enforcement investigation anyone will really know what was going through the mind of that young person who took this rash act," Greenville County Schools Superintendent Burke Royster said.

The boy was arrested and charged with murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, possession of a firearm on school property and unlawful possession of a weapon by a minor, the sheriff's office said.

"My heart breaks for this young boy's family and my prayers are with them tonight," Sheriff Lewis said, referring to the victim.

"Additionally, I will be praying for the other young boy who pulled the trigger and his family. I can not fathom what would cause someone to do this to another human being and especially at that age, but I know it's a situation where we all need to turn to God."

"We will continue our efforts through training and enforcement of laws to do what we can to ensure our schools are safe but I also ask parents to have conversations with your kids. Check their belongings and ensure they don’t have anything that could be a danger to themselves or anyone else. It truly takes a village and we need everyone’s investment," the Sheriff said.

The suspect will be sent to a juvenile justice center in Columbia, South Carolina.

Representation image. Pixabay.

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