A high school senior in Florida fatally shot himself during a school fire drill in what authorities described as a “planned event.”
According to authorities, Seth Sutherland’s body was discovered by another student in a courtyard outside Lake Minneola High School during a pre-planned fire drill. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“We have reasons to believe that this was a planned event,” Lake County sheriff’s spokesman John Harrell told news station WKMG. “[The crime scene] 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.”
However, some students reported seeing what had happened through windows in the school, which is located 27 miles west of Orlando.
“The body was just lifeless. Teachers were running and everything, saw it through the window. Just terrible,” Isaiah Vargas, a junior at the school, told WKMG. "At first kids were saying someone stabbed him or there was an active shooter or whatnot but then the teacher came inside and said, 'Look, someone tried to commit suicide, there was a gun and everything; people trying to help him.’”
Deputies stated that Sutherland, 17, posted on social media and sent messages to loved ones prior to the shooting. It is also alleged that he shared a message on Snapchat blaming certain people for his actions.
It is now yet known who owned the gun found at the scene or how Sutherland was able to get it onto campus. Lake County school district officials said that they are investigating the incident.
“We'll be taking a look at this as a school family, the things we can do differently, and I'm sure the individual families will be doing the same,” Lake County School district communications officer Sherri Owens said.