OCALA — One student shot another in the ankle at a Florida high school and the suspected shooter is in custody, authorities said Friday.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office reported that the shooting happened Friday morning at Forest High School, which was put on lockdown. The injured student, a male, was taken to a local hospital for treatment of a non-life threatening injury.
Police say the suspected shooter is also a student at the school. His age was not available and no charges were immediately announced. The sheriff’s office said no other schools in the county were under any threat.
The shooting happened as students around the country walked out of class to protest gun violence on the anniversary of the massacre at Colorado’s Columbine High School.
Chris Oliver told the Ocala Star-Banner that his 16-year-old son, a Forest student, told him the shooting happened near his classroom. The boy told Oliver the shooter was standing in a hallway and fired at a closed classroom door. The shooter then dropped an unspecified weapon, ran and tried to hide, the boy told his father.
All students were being taken by bus to First Baptist Church of Ocala, where parents can pick them up, officials said. The buses were escorted to the church by law officers on motorcycles.
Rachael Carter was at the church waiting to be reunited with her daughter, a 10th-grader who turned 16 this week. Her pastor called her when he saw a post on social media.
"I’m shaking like a leaf in a hurricane," Carter said.
She that once she is reunited with her daughter, she would "stick to her like Velcro."
Students who saw anything related to the shooting were separated so they could be interviewed by investigators.
School district spokesman Kevin Christian sent a recorded phone message to parents by phone urging them to stay away from the school.
The Ocala Police Department, the sheriff’s office, the Florida Highway Patrol and the FBI were investigating the shooting. They divided into teams that cleared all buildings, vehicles and the parking lot area. Once all students were off campus, authorities began conducting a more methodical search of the campus.
Forest High has an enrollment of more than 2,000 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.