SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Seminole High School began the dismissal process for the main campus in Sanford just before 3 p.m. following a shooting incident that prompted the school to be placed on a lockdown.
Earlier in the day, a student was shot inside the school and a suspect was taken into custody, authorities said. Investigators are calling this an isolated incident.
Just before noon on Wednesday, a School Resource Officer was informed that there was a weapon on the main campus and shots had been fired. The victim was located near the back of the campus in what is known as the Tomahawk Building. It was later determined that the victim had been shot three times.
Within minutes, the school was placed on lockdown, and security perimeters were established around the building, Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith said.
"This description of the suspect was released. He was identified as a black male, wearing a blue hoodie, a black mask with dreads – which half of his hair was blond and half of his hair was black – and a possible name at that point was being developed," Chief Smith said.
Officers arrived at the scene and were told that the suspect ran toward a nearby apartment complex.
The victim, identified as 18-year-old student Jhavon McIntyre, was transported to Central Florida Regional Hospital as officers continued to search for any evidence.
"Law enforcement located a nine-millimeter in the bushes around the tennis court. By this time, we continue to search the buildings and make sure that the students were secure and that the school continued to remain on lockdown," Chief Smith added.
The suspect, identified as 16-year-old Da'raveius Smith, was taken into custody around 12:20 p.m.
@SanfordPolice say the suspect they have in custody for the shooting at Sanford High School is a 16 year old student. Police say he shot the 18 year old victim 3 times, victim is in stable condition. @fox35orlando— Holly Bristow FOX 35 (@FOX35Holly) January 19, 2022
"It was later determined that the suspect was the only shooter and that other kids seen running, were running away from the incident for their own safety," Smith said.
According to investigators, the shooting was prompted by a dispute between the suspect and the victim over "a young lady."
"Presently we have no information, or information period, that this is a gang-related situation. Zero! There's nothing to identify that," said Smith.
Police said the victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and they were able to apprehend the suspect quickly. All other students are safe, they added.
Video provided to FOX 35 shows authorities leading students out of the school with their hands on each other's shoulders.
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 35 News app. Download for iOS or Android
Parents arrived to pick up their kids after hearing about the shooting.
"You hug them a little harder," one father said about his son.
FOX 35's Vicki Karr spoke to the grandparent of the victim and says he is in surgery.
"This incident that occurred today is one that we prepare for. We hope that never happens. We're grateful that there was no loss of life," Chief Smith said.
"We are thankful that the Sanford Police Department and the Seminole County Sheriff's Office responded so quickly, to make sure that our students are safe and that we have been able to reunify them with their families in a safe manner," said Seminole County Schools Superintendent Serita Beamon. "School will go forward tomorrow [Thursday] as normal. This was an isolated event, and we'll make sure that our counselors are there to support both our students and our staff. We look forward to getting to the bottom of how this could have happened."
Smith now faces multiple charges, including one count of attempted homicide murder first-degree premeditated, one count of possession of a weapon firearm on school property, one count of firing a weapon or firearm discharge on school property, and one count of disturbing the peace or interfering with school administration functions.
Investigators are asking for anyone with information about this case to contact the Sanford Police Department or call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).