Categories: Breaking News

Student arrested after accidental shooting, lockdown at Lennard High School

RUSKIN – Hundreds of worried parents made their way to Lennard High School parking lots to be reunited with their children Thursday. They had seen text messages from their children and alerts from the school that there had been a shooting outside and students were on lockdown.

As the number of school shootings grows and discussions of gun control dominate the national conversation after the deaths of 19 elementary school students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, when Ruskin School was locked down for about two hours Thursday, some said they feared he might. become the last scene of the tragedy.

Instead, it was a student who showed off a gun he had taken at a party over the weekend, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said, leading to a former student shooting himself. accidentally in the leg.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office personnel are investigating a shooting that occurred in the parking lot of Earl K. Lennard High School Thursday in Ruskin. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Current student Abel Martinez, 17, had brought the firearm to school with him every day this week, Chronister said. But until Thursday, he had just left it in his truck.

On Thursday, he pulled out the gun and showed it to a friend: former student Victor Castillo, 18, who had come to visit Martinez. Chronister said Castillo started playing with the gun and accidentally shot him in the leg.

Castillo went home and his parents took him to an area hospital, the sheriff said. Castillo was later airlifted to a Level I trauma center in Sarasota, where he is listed in stable condition, according to Chronister.

The school went into lockdown when it became clear to school officials that there was a gun on campus. Chronister said he believes the firearm was a semi-automatic weapon.

While on lockdown, John Segobiano, a freshman, said he imagined a gunman running through the school with a big rifle just like he hears on the news.

“I was scared, I’m not going to lie,” Segobiano said.

Segobiano doesn’t have a cell phone, but said he saw a video on a friend’s phone that showed a student being detained by deputies in a classroom. Chronister confirmed it was Martinez.

Martinez faces a charge of possession of a weapon on school property, which is a felony, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office personnel are investigating a shooting that occurred in the parking lot of Earl K. Lennard High School Thursday in Ruskin. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

The standoff stretched out for about two hours as deputies worked to find Martinez’s gun, but conflicting stories made that process difficult, the sheriff said.

“People are saying one thing on social media: We’re interviewing our shooting suspect at the hospital, who was completely honest and transparent, we have our suspect, who was telling us a different story at first,” Chronister said. “There’s another woman who was in a separate car — she had her own version. So that’s what took time.”

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After Martinez changed his story, he told deputies the gun was in the bed of his pickup truck, Chronister said.

When deputies went to the truck, they found Castillo’s blood and shell casings on the ground, Chronister said.

Once deputies located the firearm, the lockdown was lifted, he said, and the school contacted parents to come pick up their children.

Parents pick up their children as the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office investigates a shooting that happened in the parking lot of Earl K. Lennard High School Thursday in Ruskin. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

As students continued to file out of school Thursday, some smiled and waived television cameras on the campus perimeter. Others were heard telling their parents they were scared or relieved they weren’t another in a line of school shootings.

This is a developing story. stay with for updates.


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