Student shoots, kills self at Lake Minneola High School, deputies say

Classmate finds wounded student during fire drill

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager

MINNEOLA, Fla. -            A student shot and killed himself Tuesday morning in a courtyard outside Lake Minneola High School in what deputies described as a "planned event," WKMG reports.

The shooting occurred as school was beginning at Lake Minneola High, at 101 N. Hancock Road in Minneola. 

The student was taken to a hospital, where he died, according to authorities. He was identified Tuesday afternoon as 17-year-old Seth Sutherland, a senior at the school.

Sutherland's family was informed about the shooting, and a chaplain was meeting with them, officials said.

Lake County sheriff's spokesman John Harrell said the shooting occurred during a pre-planned fire drill, at which time a classmate found the wounded student.

"We have reasons to believe that this was a planned event," said Harrell, who added that it's not believed any student witnessed or head the shooting. "(The courtyard near the bus loop) is out in the open, but it was not a very populated and crowded area at that time. It seems like the majority of the student body was on the other side of the building."

A handgun was secured shortly after the shooting, and there was no threat to other students, deputies said. It's not known who owned the gun.

Lake Minneola High and other schools in the area were placed on lockdown as a precaution. Hancock Road was closed in the area.

Parents gathered outside the school after hearing news of the shooting. Parents who wanted to take their children home early were able to pick them up at Minneola Elementary Charter School on Pearl Street.

Classes later resumed, and the afternoon bus schedule will operate as normal.

A crisis team, including grief counselors, will help comfort students, Lake County Schools officials said.

A group of parents formed a circle to pray for the family of the student who shot himself.

RESOURCE:  Suicide-prevention lifeline

According to the latest statistics from the CDC, an American dies by suicide every 12.3 minutes, and there are 1.1 million suicide attempts every year in the United States.

No other details about the shooting have been released.

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