One person was injured in a shooting at Forest High School in Ocala, Fla., Friday morning, a short time before a planned student walkout to protest school violence.
The injured person, a 17-year-old male student, had a nonlife-threatening ankle injury, Sheriff Billy Woods said at a news conference.
The father of a witness to the shooting told the Ocala Star-Banner 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.
Woods said the shooter — a 19-year-old who was not a student — was taken into custody and “offered no resistance” to responding officers. Investigators haven’t released the man’s identity or given details about his suspected motive.
A school resource officer assigned to Forest High School first reported the shooting, according to Woods.
After the shooting, armed officers divided into teams and searched classrooms, cars and the school’s parking lot.
One video showed three armed officers walking into a classroom apparently conducting a search shortly after the gunshots were fired.
In the video, one bulletproof vest-wearing officer held a police shield; another told frightened students “everything is fine.”
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office asked people to stay away from the school’s campus as they investigated.
That didn’t stop the shooting at the county’s second largest high school from sparking a small 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. The Sheriff’s Office and other officials tried to squash false rumors that there were other shooters at other schools.
Other schools in Marion County were placed on alert as a precaution, Woods said.
Students at Forest High — and across the nation — had planned walkouts to protest school violence on Friday, the 19-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School.
Instead, Forest students walked out of school under the watchful eye of armed deputies.
“It’s a shame what society has come to and that we even have to be here on a school campus,” Woods said. “Society has changed since I was a kid. This is not just a law enforcement problem. This is a society problem.”
One photo from the school showed a tangle of desks, chairs and books piled up against a door.
“It [school violence] has made its way home,” parent Tom Johnson told the Ocala Star-Banner. “These are our babies. We need to protect them.”
Administrators canceled classes for the remainder of the day, and parents were told to pick up their children at First Baptist Church of Ocala.
Buses full of students, escorted by officers on motorcycles, started arriving at the church at 10:15 a.m., the Star-Banner reported.
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 away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., where a Feb. 14 mass shooting left 17 dead and 17 wounded, becoming in a flash one of the nation’s deadliest school massacres.
After the shooting, Stoneman Douglas students engaged in a campaign for tougher gun-control legislation.
This post has been updated.