The Marion County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting at Forest High School in Ocala this morning – on the day of a planned walkout to protest school violence on the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.
During “CAT Period,” a free period at the beginning of the school day, students planned to walk out to protest gun violence on the 19-year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting that claimed 15 lives, according to a Facebook post by Mary Katherine Cusack, a student currently enrolled at Forest.
A call was placed to law enforcement at 8:39 a.m. to report the shooting and by 8:42 a.m. the shooter was in custody, according to the Ocala Star Banner.
One male student was shot in the ankle, and was taken to a local hospital. The shooter was not a current student, according to the Star Banner.
The shooter’s target and motive are unclear at this time.
All Marion County schools are currently on a code yellow, in which students stay locked in their classrooms with their teachers as a precaution, according to a post on the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
Several alumni from the small high school now attend UCF, including 21-year-old Ryan Delgrego, who graduated from Forest in 2015. He instantly reached out to friends and family in Ocala after hearing about the shooting.
“I was just thinking of some of the kids and teachers I knew at that still went to Forest, and about the walkout that was happening this morning,” Delgrego said.
Delgrego described the school as “close-knit,” and teachers and students have great relationships with each other.
“I thought back to teachers who I still keep in touch with. I was very concerned for them, especially Mr. Crawford and Ms. Flaig, one being a teacher I keep in touch with from time to time, and the other being one of my best friend’s mom,” Delgrego said.
“I think this gives validity to the fact we need [gun] reform. As someone who attended the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C., I was moved to see the student body of my former high school felt moved to act as well,” Delgrego said. “Something has to be done, this can’t keep happening.”
The investigation is ongoing and will updated as more information is released.