Memorial grows as increased security continues at West Nassau High School

Deadly off-campus shooting of 16-year-old football player heightens security at school

CALLAHAN, Fla. – West Nassau High School students again arrived to increased security on campus Wednesday, two days after a 16-year-old student was shot and killed off campus during what authorities described as a drug deal.

Nassau County Undersheriff Roy Henderson said the increased law enforcement presence and security measures will continue for the rest of the week.

Students could be seen Wednesday morning visiting a memorial with flowers and balloons representing Trent Fort’s No. 21 jersey and leaving messages on a box filled with mementos.

A memorial at West Nassau High School for a slain 16-year-old football player (WJXT)

The school sent an updated message to parents on Tuesday, letting them know students’ bookbags, purses and other personal belongings would again be searched Wednesday as they entered school.

“Your cooperation with the safety measures put in place is greatly appreciated,” the message said.

Student drivers were also again asked to come into the building as soon as they arrived Wednesday and not to arrive to campus before 8:30 a.m. so that staff could ensure proper supervision.

Social workers and counselors will be available again Wednesday for students who need them.

“As we attempt to move forward and heal as a school and community, please encourage your student to reach out to the adults in our school for support and guidance,” the message read. “As a parent, if you have concerns about the security measures put in place or any other questions, please don’t hesitate to call our administration.”

Security was increased at West Nassau High School after a deadly shooting off campus. (WJXT)

The district issued a statement Tuesday:

“The Nassau County School District is saddened by the off campus, student involved shooting that occurred late yesterday afternoon that resulted in the loss of a student’s life. We extend our deepest sympathy and support to the student’s family. There will be an increased law enforcement presence on campus today. While we have no reason to believe that there is any threat to our students, we will proceed with an abundance of caution to ensure our students and staff are safe and that everyone receives the support they need.”

Nassau County School District

A GoFundMe account was set up to help pay for a celebration of life for Fort. It had raised nearly $12,000 of its $15,000 goal as of Wednesday afternoon.

Deadly shooting

Henderson said a news conference Tuesday that the 16-year-old West Nassau student was shot in the chest after getting into a confrontation during a drug deal Monday afternoon.

The Sheriff’s Office has not yet released the teen’s name, but family and friends identified the teen as Fort.

Trent Fort (Special to WJXT)

Authorities have also not yet released the names of three teens in custody in connection with the shooting.

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Henderson said the victim and shooter go to school together at West Nassau High.

Henderson said the teen believed to have pulled the trigger was taken into custody at the McDonald’s in Callahan and that teen’s brother was tracked to a wooded area in the Spring Lakes Estates neighborhood. He said authorities were able to talk the second teen out of the woods and took him into custody. They later found the 9mm handgun involved in the shooting in the woods, he said.

Henderson said they were called to the wooded area after a domestic call involving the grandfather of the shooter, who had been attacked by the shooter’s brother and another teen.

Henderson declined to provide information about when and where the third teen was taken into custody.

Both the accused shooter’s brother and the third teen will be charged with felony battery on a person over 65. The brother will also be charged with possession of a firearm with an altered serial number, possession of a firearm by a minor, tampering with evidence. He could also face a charge of accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.

He said the 17-year-old shooter has a prior gun charge. He will face charges of violation of probation, possession of a firearm of a delinquent minor and then eventually could face a charge of second-degree murder.

Henderson said there’s still a lot investigators are trying to piece together about what happened. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Detective Mark Murdock at 904-548-4067.

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