In a shocking incident, a 15-year-old Florida teenager shot himself in the head in front of his classmates during a high school English class on Tuesday morning. According to NY Daily News, the incident happened inside a classroom at the Lecanto High School located in Citrus County. The teen, a freshman, used a 9-mm handgun to attempt suicide. There were more than 20 students inside the classroom when the incident happened at around 10:30 a.m., local time.
According to the Tampa Tribune, school authorities locked the school down for over three hours after the incident while an emergency crew soon arrived and airlifted the teen to a hospital in Tampa, nearly 70 miles away. The teen, who has not been identified, remains responsive and alert but is in critical condition, the report added.
Lecanto High School on lockdown pic.twitter.com/ltYuJmgPgm
— Andrew Caplan (@CaplanChronicle) November 10, 2015
According to Citrus County Sheriff Jeffrey Dawsy, no other person was injured in the incident.
“By the grace of God, even though this was a horrific event, only one individual was injured today. This is an individual in great despair. I don’t understand how at the age of 15 you could be so depressed.”
He also added that no charges have been filed against the teen following the incident.
The video of a news conference following the incident is embedded below:
The motive behind the teenager’s drastic move remains unclear even as a team of investigators have started the inquiry and investigation process. They are interviewing the students and staff present inside the classroom at the time of the incident to gather more details. They have also been offered counseling. Meanwhile, WTSP 10 News reports that the student was miraculously conscious and talked to school resource officers who reached the classroom barely a minute after the incident. He was then airlifted to a hospital.
Sheriff Jeff Dawsy is amazed at the fact that the teen survived.
“We were able, actually, to talk to the shooter. To make sure that it was an isolated incident. Only one individual involved in the shooting. He did confirm that.”
Meanwhile, questions are also being raised as to why the Lecanto High School did not have metal detectors that could easily have prevented the teen from bringing a gun to the school. The victim has been described by his friends as a happy individual belonging to a loving family with no history of bullying or displaying aggression — which makes the motive behind his suicide attempt even more perplexing. Investigators are in the meantime looking for clues from the teen’s mobile phone and his social media accounts for any signs of trouble.
According to Jimmy Ritrovato, a family friend of the boy’s family, the troubled teen was a really good kid.
“He’s just a really good kid is all I know. I don’t know where he would’ve gotten a weapon, I mean…. just shocked.”
The school authorities have confirmed that it will remain closed on Wednesday on the occasion of Veteran’s Day. On Thursday, counselors for the staff and student affected by the incident will be on campus, confirmed superintendent Sandra Himmel. The hours after the shooting incident was a harrowing time for parents of other children in the school. Many parents said they were unhappy with the way law enforcement authorities treated them when they reached the campus to pick up their kids. Due to the lockdown, they were not allowed to enter the premises.
“It was the most unorganized thing I have ever experienced,” said parent Jessica Jahn.
Responding to the allegations, Sheriff Dawsy said the situation during the time of the incident warranted such a response from officers.
[Image Die4kids Via Wikimedia Commons]