Skip to main Content

A school shooting pre-empted a Florida high school’s walkout against school shootings

  • Author: Cleve R. Wootson Jr., The Washington Press
  • Updated: April 20, 2018
  • Published April 20, 2018

One person was injured in a shooting at Forest High School in Ocala, Florida, on Friday morning, a short time before a planned student walkout to protest school violence.

The injured person was being treated by paramedics, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post Friday morning.

According to the Ocala Star-Banner, one student shot another in the ankle.

The father of a witness to the shooting told the newspaper that the shooter was standing in the hallway and shot at a classroom door that was shut – then dropped the weapon, ran and tried to hide.

Authorities took the suspect into custody shortly after. The person's identity was not released and investigators have not given details about a suspected motive.

The shooting at a public high school prompted panic in the city of nearly 60,000 people. Parents rushed to the school to pick up rattled children, only to be directed elsewhere by Sheriff's deputies.

One photo from the school showed a tangle of desks, chairs and books piled up against a door.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office asked people to stay away from the area as the investigation continues.

"It (school violence) has made its way home," parent Tom Johnson told the Star-Banner. "These are our babies. We need to protect them."

School was canceled for the day after the shooting and parents were told pick up their students at First Baptist Church of Ocala. Other schools in the district were placed on alert as a precaution, the Sheriff's said.

The FBI, the Ocala Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Highway Patrol all responded to the shooting scene, underscoring a growing national concern about gun violence in schools.

Forest High School is about 250 miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a Feb. 14 mass shooting left seventeen dead and another 17 wounded, becoming in a flash the world's deadliest school massacre.

After the shooting, students at the school engaged in a campaign for tougher gun control legislation.