A 15-year-old freshman student shot himself in the head during English class at Lecanto High School in Lecanto, Florida, at around 10:30 a.m. According to Fox News‘ website, the “horrific event” stunned his classmates and forced school officials to initiate a lockdown at the campus. Deputies, together with four resource officers that were assigned to the school, immediately reacted and put a plan in place in case the shooting was just the first step of a bigger plot. Officials recovered a semi-automatic 9 mm pistol in the classroom.
“We always have a concern that it may not be an isolated issue,” Sheriff Jeff Dawsy explained.”By the grace of God, even though we had a horrific event, only one individual was injured today.”
The 15-year old student, whose name has not been released, was flown to Tampa General Hospital in critical but stable condition. The sheriff said he talked to the wounded boy before he was transported to the hospital to find out if he was planning on hurting other students. The boy said he had no intention of targeting anyone else.
The student was “alert and cognizant of what was going on,” Dawsy said.
Even though it looked like an attempted suicide, the sheriff avoided using the word “suicide,” while updating the media and parents on the situation, but commented that his detectives were still looking for a motive for the shooting. The detectives are currently looking at the student’s phone and interviewing his classmates.
According to Superintendent Sandra Himmel, there are no reports of bullying involving the teenage boy.
The students who were in the classroom with the student who shot himself all met with counselors, and according to school officials, meeting with counselors will be an option during the Veterans Day holiday and on Thursday and Friday when the kids are back in school.
Parents showed up to pick their children up, but were unable to do so up until after 1 p.m.
“We understand the frustration of the parents,” Dawsy said, anticipating their concerns. “I’m not going to put those kids in harm’s way until I feel very, very comfortable. And that may mean that our parents will be frustrated.”
The sheriff asked social media users to be sensitive about what they post about the shooting.
(photo via: shutterstock)
“You know what I’d really appreciate, everybody on social media?” he said at a news briefing on the campus. “How about cutting this young man some slack. There’s a lot of information going on out there. He’s got a family. We’re trying to minimize that trauma to some people out there. It’s a very unfortunate event.”
Louis Russo came up to pick up his daughter from school. He said she described a scary scene inside.
“In the room, lights out, all closed up,” Russo said. “The students were all huddled together following protocol.”
Dawsy says the investigation is still fresh, and investigators are not sure why the student wanted to kill himself. He also said the lockdown and safety precautions went as planned, but a gun showing up on campus is a big concern.
“If I had an answer for you as to how I could keep guns off campus, I’d be sharing it with a lot of people,” he said. “I don’t have the answer at this particular time.”
Lecanto High students will not be in class Wednesday as the country celebrates Veterans Day, but classes will resume Thursday.
Dawsy said he does not “foresee any charges coming out of this,” adding, “This is an individual in great despair. I don’t understand how at the age of 15 you could be so depressed.”
(photo via: shutterstock)