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Student, 17, shot, injured at Forest High School

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Suspect apprehended without incident

By Jim Clark

OCALA — A 17-year-old student was injured and his assailant was taken into custody in a shooting at Forest High School Friday morning.

The 19-year-old non-student suspect was confronted by the school resource officer within three minutes of the 8:39 shooting. During the capture of the shooter, no shots were fired, according to Sheriff Billy Woods, who briefed the media around noon. He added that the suspect offered no resistance.

The injuries to the student were not life-threatening, Woods said, adding the names of all those involved were not immediately released.

Later, while discussing social media and reported threats. Woods said: “I think social media is the most evil thing that has ever been created.” After saying he and the Sheriff’s Office use it, he added, “Social media is destructive.”

After warning parents and students about posting such items, he added, “If we find it to be in violation of the law, we have zero tolerance. I will not tolerate it.”

At his press conference, Woods explained Forest is Marion County’s second largest high school with more than 2,000 students.

“I want to assure Marion County residents that today, they should be proud of their first responders,” he said. ““I commend also the school system, for their protocols in place, because what they put in place saved lives today.”

There were questions about the fact that Friday was the 19th anniversary og Columbine and students were demonstrating across the country against gun violence.

“It’s a shame what society has come to and we even have to be here on a school campus,” Woods said. “This is not just a law enforcement problem, it’s a society problem.”

His emotions were running rampant, since Woods spent from 3:30 p.m. Thursday until 10 p.m. Thursday with his fellow sheriff in Gilchrist County, where two deputies were killed for absolutely no reason.

“Then we have an incident like this,” he said, “I’m angry, I’m sad and I want to do something. We will do something and we are doing something as was evident what was accomplished in the success of the first responders today.”

SWAT did a sweep of the school after the shooting. Students were bused to First Baptist Church on Maricamp Road for parent pickup.

Reports of a gun at West Port High School proved to be unfounded.