Pasco County school leader details ordeal as shootout unfolded next to campus

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PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Pasco County assistant principal revealed details to News Channel 8 about how teachers and students were huddled in classrooms as bullets flew during a shootout nearby.

Mary Reynolds, the assistant principal at Gulf Highlands Elementary, says they were able to put a new active threat plan to the ultimate test Thursday.

Investigators say Brian Disario, a 30-year-old mentally ill man with an arsenal of guns had just killed David Armstrong, 56, and began shooting at deputies Thursday around 3 p.m.

The gun battle took place outside the home at 11605 Constance Drive in Port Richey.

Sheriff Chris Nocco says the rampage was triggered by jealousy over an imaginary girlfriend.

Officials place the school under an active threat plan, which included locking all doors and using what they could to barricade everyone in classrooms, Reynolds says.

Reynolds says she was told that more than 60 deputies surrounded the campus and worked with school employees to keep the student safe.

“Really, for such a challenging experience, it ended up being one that bonded us even tighter as a community,” Reynolds says.

Disario is accused of killing his mother’s friend after he thought the victim was hitting on a girlfriend that wasn’t real, according to investigators.

A witness says they saw Disario point a gun toward Gulf Highlands Elementary.

Deputies arrived and exchanged gunfire with Disario within two blocks of the school.

The sheriff says Disario took cover behind a car, then eventually made it to his home and deputies followed, where they found the victim.

The sheriff says deputies pulled back and tried to negotiate before using a robot to enter the home.

Deputies say Disario was found dead inside the house.

The exact cause of death is being investigated, according to deputies.

Investigators are also working to learn why and how Disario was able to collect such a large stockpile of weapons.

The sheriff’s office spokesperson says 911 calls and body camera video are being reviewed and won’t be released at this time.MORE TOP STORIES:

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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