A sheriffs deputy shot a 15-year-old he believed was armed with a handgun at a Florida middle school Friday only to learn later that the weapon was a modified pellet gun, the Seminole County sheriff said.
The student is on life support at the Orlando Regional Medical Center, Sheriff Don Esslinger said.
Esslinger said that the student had painted the the tip of the pellet gun black to make it look like a real gun.
The sheriff's deputy was a member of the SWAT team and shot the eighth-grader only after the student raised the gun and threatened officers, Esslinger said.
The shooting occurred about 9:30 a.m. at Millwee Middle School.
The suburban Orlando school was promptly evacuated after the shooting, which began when the teen's fellow students learned he had a gun. The students were planning to tell a teacher about it, the sheriff's office said.
The teen then became agitated and tried to take a student hostage, but a scuffle ensued and the hostage got away, the sheriff's office said. Deputies were then called to the scene, and the teen led them on a foot chase across campus before police cornered him in a bathroom, the sheriff's office said.
Deputies attempted to negotiate the teen's surrender, the sheriff's office said, but the student began pointing the gun at his own head and throat. When the boy raised the gun toward deputies, one of them shot him, the sheriff said.
"From what the deputies explained to me, (the teen) was suicidal," said Esslinger said.
By KELLI KENNEDY
Associated Press Writer
LONGWOOD, Fla.- A suicidal eighth grader who pulled a handgun in class and briefly took another child hostage was shot by a SWAT team member Friday when he later threatened deputies, Seminole County officials said.
Sheriff Don Eslinger said the 15-year-old boy brought the gun to Milwee Middle School in his backpack and briefly took a fellow student hostage during a classroom scuffle.
The student then ran from the classroom and was pursued by deputies into a restroom and isolated there, Eslinger said. The school was evacuated, and no one else was injured. Officials with the sheriff's office said they had not confirmed whether the gun the boy had was real or a toy.
"At one time he held the gun to his neck. As the deputies attempted to establish dialogue, he raised the firearm and lethal force was used by the sheriff's office," Eslinger said.
The boy was taken to the hospital. His condition was unknown.
"He was suicidal," Eslinger said. "During this standoff, and during the chase, the student said he was going to kill himself or die."
Classes were canceled for the rest of the day, and frantic parents arrived to pick up their children.
"When I saw the news, I just couldn't believe this was my daughter's school. I came right away," said Anil Santos, whose daughter, Aleister, is in eighth grade.
Sarah Tivy, a seventh grader, said some students were frightened, but she appeared calm.
"I just figured that if someone is going to bring a gun to school, then they need to be taken out of school," the 12-year-old said.
The Associated Press
LONGWOOD, Florida- A SWAT team member shot and wounded an eighth-grader who appeared to be carrying a handgun at his middle school in an Orlando, Florida, suburb. The report of an armed student led to an evacuation of students, teachers and school staff Friday morning.
The student was taken to the hospital. His condition was not immediately known.
Details of the shooting were sketchy, but Seminole County Sheriff's officials said no other students, teachers or school staff members at Milwee Middle School were injured.
Sheriff's officials had originally said the wounded boy had barricaded himself in a bathroom.
The Associated Press
LONGWOOD, Fla.- A middle school was evacuated Friday morning after a wounded pupil barricaded himself in a bathroom, possibly with a gun, authorities in the Orlando suburbs said.Sheriff's deputies said it appeared the boy had a handgun but that had not been confirmed. He was shot, but the wound was not self-inflicted, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said. Officials did not say who they believe shot the boy.
The sheriff's office said it has been negotiating with the boy to surrender.
All the students, teacher and staff at Milwee Middle School were evacuated and are safe, deputies said.