On April 20, a former high school student in Ocala, Florida, named Sky Bouche snuck a sawed-off shotgun into Forest High School in his guitar case. He had plans to use it and was just waiting for the right time.
He went into the school bathroom and started putting on a tactical suit and gloves.
When he approached the first classroom, he was unable to get in because the door was locked. He shot at the door instead. One student was injured in the leg by shrapnel.
Teachers and students jumped to action barricading doors and turning off lights. One student explained the situation:
“Our teachers started pushing file cabinets and desks toward the door, and a few friends and I joined in. We also started tying together some jackets to hang out the window, in case we needed another way out.”
When alarms went off and the school went into “Code Red,” Bouche dropped the weapon and tried to blend in with all the other students.
A teacher noticed him and remembered that he was no longer a student there. Kelly McManis-Panasuk asked Bouche if he had been the one to shoot the gun, and he admitted that he did.
A few minutes later, the school resource officer, Deputy James Long, came running toward where he had heard gunfire. He quickly took Bouche into custody. These two heroes stopped Bouche from picking up the gun and shooting the students.
McManis-Panasuk managed to talk to Bouche for a few minutes, and he explained that he was mentally ill and wanted to be arrested.
He went on to explain that he had been abused by his family his entire life and he was just tired of it and couldn’t take it anymore. He was ready to get away from them. He did not say if he had targeted the classroom or any students specifically.
The police said that the actions of McManis-Panasuk and Long helped save a lot of lives that day.
According to Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, Long did not hesitate to run toward the gunshots or take Bouche down. He got to the scene as quickly as possible and was able to subdue Bouche without any further problems. Once police arrived, he was handed over to them. They took him to the police station and charged him.
Once the scene was safe, the students were evacuated to a nearby church on buses and parents were called to pick them up. It was a terrifying ordeal for everyone involved, but parents were thankful to find their children safe.
Bouche has a history of mental illness.
When he was 14, he had a psychiatric evaluation, and the doctors determined that he was a threat to himself and others. He was not legally allowed to own a gun, but he had purchased this gun from a private individual. He was able to sneak into the school because he could blend in with the other students.
He appeared in court on Saturday and was charged with charged with terrorism, aggravated assault with a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm, culpable negligence, possession of a firearm on school property, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, interference on school property, and armed trespass on school property.
He is currently being held without bond until his next court date, which is scheduled for May 22.
Police are still trying to determine how Bouche was able to purchase the gun. They are interviewing his family members and close friends. They are also checking school cameras to get a good idea of exactly what happened.
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— Nadeen Yanes (@NadeenNews6) April 20, 2018