SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - With 10 minutes left in her first-period class at Lake Mary High School, deputies say a 17-year-old junior asked to be excused from class to use the restroom.
Minutes later, a single gunshot rang out through the school.
Within moments, Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said the teen was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in an isolated portion of the school’s auditorium.
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We're learning more about the girl who shot and killed herself Wednesday morning.
Classes were canceled Thursday, but counselors were on campus all day.
The Sheriff’s Office said the girl had been taken for a mental health evaluation in December, so she appeared to be struggling before she took her own life at the school.
Deputies identified the victim as a junior, but WFTV has decided not to share her name.
“We heard a really loud noise. It didn't sound like a gun, but it sounded like something fell,” said student Sydney Gross. “So we ran to Mr. Southworth, and he just said ‘Go,’ and we went into a code red and it was crazy.”
Deputies responded with a nurse shortly after the shot was fired. They tried to render aid, but it was too late. They found the girl had killed herself.
Once the news broke, students were crying, some mourning their classmate and friend, others wondering how someone was able to go undetected with a gun.
School has been canceled for the rest of this week ahead of next week's spring break, but counselors have been available on campus for other students who need or want to talk to someone about this tragedy.
As students started to make their way off campus Wednesday, there was a sense of sadness and relief. They were safe and they were heading home.
Deputies say around 7:50 this morning an 11th grade student (female) asked permission to leave the classroom at Lake Mary HS to go to the restroom.— Sarahbeth Ackerman (@SAckermanWFTV) March 13, 2019
5-10 min later they heard a gunshot @WFTV pic.twitter.com/mJT8TEYj1g
“First and foremost, our hearts are truly heavy and we are deeply saddened by the events of today. Each and every SCPS family member extend our condolences to the student’s family and to the LMHS family. As always, we are here to support you," Seminole County Schools Superintendent Walt Griffin and LMHS Principal Mickey Reynolds said in a joint statement.
"We can't turn a blind eye to mental health" - Sheriff Dennis Lemma— Sarahbeth Ackerman (@SAckermanWFTV) March 13, 2019
Students at Lake Mary High School were scheduled to take their quarterly exams this week, but the testing has been rescheduled to after spring break.
While some expressed concerns about how the student got the gun on campus, deputies said don't expect big security changes after spring break.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said while metal detectors may work in a place with limited entry points like a courthouse, he said at a school it isn't practical.
At this time, any families wishing to pick-up their student may do so by entering the Lake Mary High School campus by the entrance near the Football Field. There will be NO-access to campus through the school's main entrance. When you arrive on-campus, please remain in your vehicle. A team of school staff will be present to assist with contacting your student. In addition, please present your valid photo I.D. when picking up your student.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
The school district is also reminding students and the community about its anonymous SpeakOut Hotline at 800-423-TIPS or online at speakouthotline.org
Watch the sheriff's full press conference here:
.@LMHSRams was on a Code Red Lockdown this morning as the @SeminoleSO responded to an isolated incident on campus. Students are safe and classes have returned to normal. More details will follow when able. pic.twitter.com/qWgLQ81j94— SCPS Info (@SCPSInfo) March 13, 2019
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