• $10K reward offered after Boone H.S. student fatally shot while walking to school

    By: Sarah Wilson , Jason Kelly , Steve Barrett , Kelly Healey

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A $10,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in the shooting death of Boone High School student, Alejandro Vargas Martinez.

    Vargas Martinez, 15, was shot to death while walking to school at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday near Waldo Street and East Kaley Street, about a half mile from the school, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said.

    Mina said residents heard gunfire and called 911. He said Vargas Martinez was discovered with gunshot wounds and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


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    Resident Frank Skinner said he heard the gunfire but thought it was fireworks at first.

    "I was sitting on the porch at 6:30 in the morning, getting ready for work, and I heard some burning out from a vehicle up at the corner," Skinner said. "And after that I thought it was a mortar, a firework. It wasn't a firework, because five more went off after that."

    Skinner said he believes the shooting was not random.

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    "This is targeted," he said. "This is not a random thing at 6:30 in the morning -- for a 15-year-old kid in high school to get shot. It just doesn't happen like that."

    Mina said Vargas Martinez lived in a nearby neighborhood that borders Hourglass Park.

    No information about a possible suspect has been released. Mina said anyone with information about the case should call Crimeline at 407-423-8477. 

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    "We are asking the community for any assistance and asking them to call Crimeline or call the Speakout Hotline," Mina said.

    A makeshift memorial was created next to the road where Vargas Martinez was shot. People placed candles, flowers and balloons around a fence.

    Brianna Armstrong, 15, came to the spot off of Waldo Street to drop off balloons and stuffed animals with her mom, Andrea.

    "I couldn't imagine losing my own child in such a tragic way," Andrea Armstrong said.

    Boone High School's principal, Dusty Johns, posted a message on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as they go through this extremely difficult time," he said.

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    Johns said the school will have additional law enforcement present on campus out of an abundance of caution. He said there will also be a crisis team on campus to provide counseling assistance to students and staff.

    Fernando Corral said he was unaware that his classmate was in the ambulance that he passed by on his way to school.

    "I'm still processing the fact that he won't be there tomorrow. He won't be there when we come back from Christmas break. He won't be here for his birthday," he said. "He won't be here ever again on this Earth. But I just know he's gone, but he'll never be forgotten."

    Watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live updates.

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