Family of Orange Co. student who was shot forced out of home due to threats

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The student shot at West Orange High School last December said he’s now living in hiding after receiving death threats.

Police said Ja’Roderick Smith and his entire family had to leave their Winter Garden home.

Detectives said they are making progress in the investigation into the threats, but Smith’s family believes the threats are an attempt to keep the boy off the witness stand.

“Threats were received. We’ve had an investigator working the case," said Lt. Keith Ralston with the Winter Garden Police Department.

Smith was threatened in April not to walk through the suspect’s neighborhood and was later threatened via Facebook and face-to-face, investigators said.

Accord to a police report, Smith said he was sitting on an electrical box when two people drove up and stuck a gun in his face.

“Why do I have to move out of my home to keep my son safe? Why can’t the police do something?” said Smith’s mother, Jamiya Ford.

Ford said the family doesn’t have a safe place to live.

“Me and my kids are temporarily homeless,” she said.

She said she wants police to do more to catch the people threatening her son.

Police said that they have someone working on the case.

“There are many leads he’s following, and continues to follow up. Including today we’ve had some updates,” Ralston said.

Channel 9’s Mario Boone contacted State Attorney Jeff Ashton to find out what protection his office is providing Smith’s family, but Boone did not get a response.

J'Morian Bell, the teenager charged with shooting Smith, was booked Monday on charges regarding a separate home invasion and murder two weeks prior to the shooting.

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