The largest employer in St. Mary's County is the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
The largest employer in St. Mary's County is the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Great Mills, where a shooting occurred Tuesday at the community’s Great Mills High School, is an unincorporated town near the southern tip of Maryland in St. Mary’s County where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay.

Many in the community — which is about 90 miles outside of Baltimore — work at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, the largest employer of the county, and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, according to the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

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St. Mary’s College of Maryland is 10 miles south of Great Mills.

Maryland high school shooting: Two students injured, suspected gunman dead after incident at Great Mills High School

Gunfire rang out at Great Mills High School in Southern Maryland as classes began Tuesday morning, the latest school shooting to rattle parents and set off another round of the national debate over gun control.

Great Mills was home to about 6,000 in 2010, according to the St. Mary’s County Department of Economic and Community Development.

The county is growing. Between 2010 and 2016, St. Mary’s population grew 7 percent from 105,148 to 112,587, compared to the 4 percent growth rate for the state, according to the most recent U.S. Census figures.

Much of the growth in the county is from exurban migration from Washington D.C. and Baltimore metro regions.

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