SWAT team shoots gun-wielding student who threatened deputies

Saturday, January 14, 2006

LONGWOOD, Fla. -- A suicidal eighth-grader who pulled a handgun in class and briefly took another child hostage was shot by a SWAT team member Friday when he later threatened deputies, Seminole County officials said.

Sheriff Don Eslinger said the 15-year-old boy brought the gun to Milwee Middle School in his backpack and briefly took a fellow student hostage during a classroom scuffle.

The student then ran from the classroom and was pursued by deputies into a restroom and isolated there, Eslinger said. The school was evacuated, and no one else was injured. Officials with the sheriff's office said they had not confirmed whether the gun the boy had was real or a toy.

"At one time he held the gun to his neck. As the deputies attempted to establish dialogue, he raised the firearm and lethal force was used by the sheriff's office," Eslinger said.

The boy was taken to the hospital. His condition was unknown.

"He was suicidal," Eslinger said. "During this standoff, and during the chase, the student said he was going to kill himself or die."

Classes were canceled for the rest of the day, and frantic parents arrived to pick up their children.

"When I saw the news, I just couldn't believe this was my daughter's school. I came right away," said Anil Santos, whose daughter, Aleister, is in eighth grade.

Sarah Tivy, a seventh-grader, said some students were frightened, but she appeared calm.

"I just figured that if someone is going to bring a gun to school, then they need to be taken out of school," the 12-year-old said.

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