LAKE MARY, Fla. — A 17-year-old student killed herself with a handgun at Lake Mary High School's auditorium early Wednesday morning, according to the Seminole County sheriff.
- Name of student not released
- Students, staff are safe
- School is operating as normal, official says
- SEE BELOW: How to seek help ▼
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis M. Lemma called the shooting an isolated incident.
Just before 8 a.m., an 11th grade student committed suicide in the auditorium building on campus by using a handgun, the sheriff stated.
At around 7:48 a.m., a teacher reported hearing a gunshot after the student left the classroom five to 10 minutes before, saying she needed to use the bathroom.
The student left the classroom and into an isolated area of the auditorium. It is not known if anyone was near the auditorium at that time or witnessed the shooting, Lemma said.
Staff and teachers used a campus radio to report the shooting and two Sheriff's Office resource officers arrived to the area within a minute, described the sheriff.
The school nurse unsuccessfully tried to give aid to the student, stated Lemma.
The student's name has not been released and Lemma said it is not known how the girl got a hold of the gun.
Victim advocates are with the student's father right now and attempts are being made to reach her mother, who is out of state, Lemma said. He also added deputies are working to find out how the student got ahold of a gun.
Students were given the option to go home, which most did. School administrators canceled all after-school activities Wednesday and canceled classes Thursday.
Students in the entire school district begin spring break Friday, but SCPS administrators say grief counselors will be at Lake Mary High School on Thursday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon for students who need to talk to someone.
The sheriff admitted there’s no way to ultimately stop a student from brining a gun into a school.
“Our kids don’t go through metal detectors. They’re not going through airport screening processes, so at this time, absent (of) those procedures, really nothing,” Lemma said.
But he says if law enforcement, school administrators, and parents are constantly talking with students, tragedies like this can be prevented.
There is no active threat made against county schools.
Earlier in the day, Michael Lawrence, the communications officer at Seminole County Public Schools, sent a message out to parents that the school was placed on a code red lockdown, but did not describe what the incident was to Spectrum News 13.
The lockdown has been lifted and parents are able to pick up students if they wish.
How to Seek Help
Sheriff Lemma urged people if they know anyone who is suffering to reach out to help.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be used for assistance. If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
You can also text NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to 741-741 to get help from a crisis counselor for free.
The NAMI website also has information on:
- Knowing the warning signs for suicide risk
- Preventing suicide as a family member or caregiver
- Being prepared if there is a crisis
- Navigating a mental health crisis: a guidebook
The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can call the hotline at 1-866-488-7386.
If you or someone you know needs to contact a crisis counselor in Spanish, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline en español at 1-888-628-9454.
If you or someone you know is a veteran, you can contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 -- just press 1. Don't want to talk on the phone? You can also send a text to 838255.