The 19-year-old gunman who caused panic and fear at a Florida high school when he opened fire Friday morning said he was “sorry.”
The gunman, identified as Sky Bouche, brought a shotgun onto campus at Forest High School in Ocala and shot a 17-year-old student in the ankle, deputies said.
The shooting happened on the day planned for a national classroom walkout to protest gun violence.
Bouche was taken into custody by school resource officer Jim Long within three minutes of the gunfire.
“He did not hesitate. He went right in,” Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said.
Bouche told a WFTV reporter he didn't see anyone and shot through a door at the school.
"Anything you want to say to (the victim) or his family?” Bouche was asked.
"Sorry," Bouche said. "Doesn't make it better anyway."
He would not answer any questions about why he allegedly shot the student.
Other students were around when the gunfire broke out, but deputies did not say where in the building the shooting happened.
“Basically, in three minutes, (Long) engaged the shooter and took him into custody,” Woods said. “(Bouche) was not tackled. He didn’t offer any resistance.”
Woods said Long had heard a "large, loud, banging sound" and immediately responded. Long "recognized what we had at that time," he said.
Bouche was not injured.
Woods could not say if the alleged shooter was a former student or whether Bouche and the victim knew each other.
It’s also unclear how Bouche managed to get on the campus with a gun.
The Sheriff's Office has not identified the student who was shot, but reported that the victim said, "I am so glad it was me and not one of my friends."
Students and teachers crouched under their desks and hid as officers went from room to room making sure everyone was OK.
“We were just under our desks crying,” said a student, who was not identified.
After the shooting, the school was placed on lockdown, so parents were not able to pick up their children.
Parents were urged to stay away from the school, which is protocol during a lockdown.
“Well, you’re scared to death, of course. Your heart is beating 90 mph and, you know, you’re just scared for your child,” said a parent, who was not identified. “You don’t know what’s going on.”
As deputies evacuated the classrooms, the more than 2,300 students were loaded onto buses and brought to the First Baptist Church of Ocala, where they reunited with frantic parents.
“Just anxious, waiting for her to get on that bus at the school, to text me, ‘I’m here,’ and just waiting for her name to be called,” parent Ashley Shell said.
Hundreds of anxious parents gathered on the front steps of the church.
“I’m just glad she is safe. I’m just glad that no one else got hurt,” added parent Otto Brown.
Woods said he was proud of how first responders and school officials handled the situation.
“It was the school system, it was law enforcement and it was Fire Rescue that saved lives today,” he said. “Our children are alive because those three things were in place.”
Long has been with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years, and has spent 10 of those years as a resource officer at the school.
Schools in the Marion County Public Schools District remained on Code Yellow for the rest of the day and Woods sent extra patrols to campuses throughout the county.
“Marion County does everything to protect their children," Woods said.
He also stressed that any school threats or hoax school threats will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
“This is not a joking matter. What happened down south almost came to Marion County,” Woods said.
Ocala police, the Sheriff's Office, the Florida Highway Patrol and the FBI were investigating. They divided into teams that cleared all buildings, vehicles and the parking lot. Once all students were off campus, authorities began conducting a more thorough search of the campus.
The Ocala shooting comes just over two months after a gunman killed 17 people and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, 19, faces the death penalty if he is convicted.
About the Author