OCALA, Fla. – A Florida school resource officer was hailed a hero after immediately jumping into action and arresting a man who was suspected of shooting a student Friday.
Deputy James “Jimmy” Long of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office was hailed a hero by his colleagues Friday after he arrested the suspected gunman. While the suspect has been identified, Law Enforcement Today will refer to him as S.B. Moreover, we will not show his picture to avoid providing attention he may seek.
Deputy Long was able to confront S.B. just three minutes after he opened fire at Forest High School in Ocala, Fla. S.B. is accused of shooting through a classroom door and pellets hit a 17-year-old student in the ankle. The student was taken to the hospital with a non-life-threatening wound to his lower leg.
S.B, 19, said, “Sorry,” followed by, “It doesn’t matter anyway,” to reporters as he was led from the school in handcuffs by several deputies. Authorities said S.B. was a former student at the school.
“I didn’t shoot anyone,” he said to reporters. He ignored most of the other questions until asked what he’d say to the shooting victim. That’s when he said, “Sorry.”
Other people credited with helping intercede include Kelly McManis-Panasuk, a teacher at the school who spoke with S.B. during the incident as Long and the school’s principal Brent Carson rushed over.
S.B. was not injured and “didn’t offer any resistance when arrested,” Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said.
Woods praised Long’s quick response as well as school personnel.
Long “did not hesitate. He went right in,” Woods said at a news conference. Woods said Long heard a “large, loud banging sound” and immediately responded.
“Marion County does everything to protect their children,” Woods said.
S.B. was held on charges of “terrorism, aggravated assault with a firearm, culpable negligence, carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm on school property, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, interference in school function and armed trespass on school property,” the Ocala Star-Banner reported.
Authorities said the accused gunman carried the weapon in a guitar case inside the school. The high school along, with all other schools in the district, was placed on a lockdown following the incident.
The injured student, who was not identified, told officials that he was “glad it was me and not one of my friends.”
The incident occurred on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. Students across the country were holding a walkout to protest gun violence on the anniversary. The Ocala school had planned its version of a walkout, students said, but it was canceled.
Forest High has an enrollment of more than 2,000 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
The 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. The 19-year-old suspect faces the death penalty if convicted in that Valentine’s Day shooting.
Furthermore, disappointed with the Broward sheriff’s handling of the Parkland school shooting, the county’s largest deputies union has scheduled a no-confidence vote for Scott Israel, they announced yesterday.