Alert parent prevents Ocala student from bringing gun to school

OCALA, Fla. — Marion County investigators said an alert parent stopped what could have been a tragedy at an Ocala middle school.

A 13-year-old boy attempted to bring an AR-15 rifle and ammunition to Howard Middle School. A parent noticed the student had the gun while the student was leaving for school Wednesday morning.

The teenager had the gun hiding under his clothes, investigators said.

Investigators said the teenager wasn’t being bullied but “annoyed” with some of his classmates. They don’t know why he felt that way.

“He was annoyed or upset with a number of students on campus, but it was not necessarily a bullying issue,” said Marion County Public School spokesperson Kevin Christian. “He was just annoyed at them, and I guess he felt like he was going to do something to take care of it.”

The teenager was taken to a mental health facility for treatment.

Parents at the school said it was scary when they heard the robocall about the incident, but are relieved no one was hurt.

“I am very grateful. This could have been a different situation,” said parent Nena Vaghela.

School officials wouldn’t say how many students were in the group the teenager was annoyed with, but they did said those students and their parents met with police and were told about the incident.

The students were also offered counseling.