Duval school police

Apparent Accidental Gunfire At Jacksonville School Wounds Student

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Florida Times-Union | by Dan Scanlan | October 12, 2020

An 18-year-old student was injured Friday after a gun went off Friday afternoon at Ribault High School.

Another 18-year-old student is in custody, so far charged with felony possession of a firearm on school property after the incident near the school’s field house, according to Duval County school district officials.

During a Friday news conference at the school, Principal Gregory Bostic said everyone is thankful the student’s injuries were not more serious. But he called it a very serious incident that left the victim shot in the arm and hospitalized.

“I want to express my disappointment that one of our students made this life-changing decision to bring a firearm to the school,” Bostic said. “… I can even say that I am angry, but I am mad as well. But I know what happened today does not represent our students.”

Ribault High School Principal Gregory Bostic addresses a campus shooting Friday.
Ribault High School Principal Gregory Bostic addresses a campus shooting Friday. First Coast News

Duval County School Police were called about 2 p.m. to the school at 3701 Winton Drive off Moncrief Road. Witnesses pointed to a suspect and officers took him into custody without incident and recovered a firearm, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.

The victim and suspect were both young men. Neither was named by police or school officials. But School Police Director Micheal Edwards said this was not an active shooter situation.

“This was not a situation where we had an individual who came on our campus who did not belong,” Edwards said. “We have received no credible threats or intelligence that this will be a continued situation.”

The Sheriff’s Office could not confirm if the shooting was accidental as the investigation continues. But School Board member Darryl Willie told news partner First Coast News the gun was discharged accidentally in or around the field house and did not occur during a fight. 

The principal said a random check of student backpacks was done Friday. But the gun incident now means enhanced security protocols begin Monday, including mandatory screening of all students using metal detectors. He also asked all parents to remind students that weapons are not allowed on campus as he passed on a message to the students who go there.

“Please, please do not follow this path. We very much want our campus to be a safe place for all students and all staff,” Bostic said.

School police and the Sheriff’s Office’s violent crime unit are investigating. And Edwards said his staff was on “high alert” at Friday night’s Ribault High School football game at Fletcher High School.