WINTER GARDEN, Fla. - A 17-year-old West Orange High School student was arrested Wednesday about two hours after a 15-year-old classmate was shot in the face during a fight on campus, according to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office said J-Morian Eddie Patrick Bell was arrested in the shooting of Ja'Roderick Smith, who was wounded around 1:15 p.m. outside the high school, located on Beulah Road in Winter Garden just south of the Florida Turnpike. The shooting took place after classes ended Wednesday, which is an early dismissal day.
Bell was detained near the intersection of North Dean Road and Massey Street in east Orange County, but no other details of the arrest were immediately known.
Orange County Public Schools spokeswoman Kathy Marsh said Smith was alert before he was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Officials said he was in stable condition.
A witness told Local 6 the shooting started as a fight and ended when one of them was shot in the upper body.
"(Smith) was shot in the face and the abdomen," said Demings, who stated earlier that about 100 law enforcement officers responded to the school.
Demings said school officials administered first aid to Smith before he was taken to the hospital.
Video from Local 6 News helicopter Sky 6 showed about a dozen law enforcement vehicles at the school, with a portion of the bus loop blocked off with police tape. Deputies were seen removing students from several buses and searching each vehicle before allowing the children back on board.
School officials said the students were bused to Ocoee High School at 1925 Ocoee Crown Point Parkway, where parents picked them up.
"We are exercising extreme caution with your children because safety is our first priority," Orange County Public Schools said in a phone message sent to parents.
The West Orange High School principal also posted a message to parents on the school's Facebook page.
"Good afternoon, parents. This is Douglas Szcinski, principal at WOHS. Our school is now on lockdown. We are following all safety procedures and precautions.
"There has been an incident in which one student was shot. That student is alert and is being transported to the hospital. Law enforcement is on the scene working the situation.
"We will provide more information as soon as it is available."
The Orange County Sheriff's Office and Orange County Fire Rescue continue to investigate the shooting.
Meanwhile, the shooting forced officials to cancel the West Orange High basketball games Wednesday night against Dr. Phillips High School.
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