OCALA, Fla. (WESH/AP) — A gunman opened fire at an Ocala high school Friday, wounding one student before being taken into custody.
Video shows chaotic scene at second Ocala school shortly after Forest High shooting
The shooting happened inside Forest High School on Maricamp Road. The wounded student, a 17-year-old boy, was taken to a local hospital for treatment of a non-life threatening injury to his ankle.
Images shared on social media showed desks and filing cabinets piled against classroom doors as a makeshift barricade.
Authorities initially said the 19-year-old suspect, Sky Bouche, is also a student at the school, but later said he was a former student not currently enrolled.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said Bouche is being cooperative, but that investigators have not established a motive. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is helping investigators go through Bouche’s past.
Woods said the victim told investigators, “I am so glad it was me and not one of my friends.”
All Marion County schools were placed under a code yellow Friday as a precaution, but officials said there was never a threat against any other school.
After the shooting, all students were taken by bus with a police escort to First Baptist Church of Ocala, where parents gathered to pick them up, officials said.
Gov. Rick Scott reacted to the shooting Friday morning via his official Twitter account.
“I was just briefed by @MCSOFlorida Sheriff Billy Woods on today’s shooting in Ocala. I have also spoken with @EducationFL Commissioner Pam Stewart and @fdlepio Commissioner Rick Swearingen. I’ve offered any state support to Marion County they may need,” Scott said.
Craig Ham, deputy superintendent of Ocala schools operations, said the gunman carried a shotgun in a guitar case into the school, by blending in with students. Ham told reporters the shooter fired at the bottom of a classroom door, which was locked, and pellets struck the victim in the ankle.
The school had planned to participate around 11 a.m. in a walkout commemorating the Columbine shooting. Mailhiot said he had hesitated to participate in the walkout because he was worried the large crowd outside the school would present a large target for anyone waiting to cause a disturbance.
Woods praised the quick response by the school resource officer, as well as school personnel and first responders.
The resource officer, Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy James Long, “did not hesitate. He went right in,” Woods said at a news conference.
Woods said Long heard a “large, loud banging sound” and immediately responded. Long “recognized what we had at that time,” he said.
The sheriff said Bouche was not injured, was not fired at and was arrested without resistance.
“Marion County does everything to protect their children,” Woods said.
Forest High has an enrollment of more than 2,000 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
WESH 2’s Matt Lupoli spoke exclusively to Bouche Friday night.
He told WESH 2 News why he pulled the trigger.
From behind bars, Bouche said he felt disgusted with himself after the first shots went off.
WESH 2 News asked Bouche why he did it.
“To let people know there’s something wrong with me,” Bouche said.
Bouche said sickness drove him to take a gun to his old school and open fire.
“I got a sawed off shotgun, I put it in a guitar case. I also had a tactical vest filled with shotgun slugs and rounds,” Bouche said.
Handcuffed and shackled inside Marion County’s jail, he claims he’s been treated for his mental health before, but wanted more serious attention paid to his problems now. He said taking lives wasn’t part of his plan.
“Just to really, really scare them,” Bouche said. “I want to (be) put away where I can’t hurt anybody.”
Bouche claimed he bought his shotgun a week after the school shooting in Parkland, before the legal limit was changed to 21, in a private sale without any background check, from someone he met online.
“Do you feel sorry? Do you feel remorseful?” WESH 2 News asked Bouche.
“Yeah. That’s why I put down the gun. I could’ve kept going,” he said.