ORLANDO, Fla. - A 15-year-old boy was shot and killed Tuesday morning while walking to Boone High School in Orlando, officials said.
The shooting was reported on Waldo Street at Kaley Avenue near Boone High. The shooting was not on school property.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said deputies were called around 6:30 a.m. and found the teen suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital and died, Mina said.
The boy, identified as Alejandro Vargas Martinez, lived in the neighborhood, authorities said.
Several neighbors heard gunshots, according to Mina, who added deputies are seeking help from the community in their search for the shooter. Details about the shooting are not known.
Boone High School alerted parents about the shooting via a voice message.
"One of our students was tragically killed on the way to school," Boone High Principal Dusty Johns said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as they go through this extremely difficult time."
He said students will have varied reactions, all of which are normal.
"We will have crisis teams on campus to provide counseling assistance for students who need it," Johns said.
Boone High was briefly placed on lockdown because of the shooting. Officials also alerted parents about the lockdown via a voice message.
Martinez's aunt, Dolka Martinez, shared a photo with News 6 that shows them smiling together.
She described her nephew as a dedicated and energetic kid who loved to cook, bake and spend time with his family.
"He was so caring, very hyper, was not a troubled kid at all. He was always home helping his mother," she said.
The family set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for funeral expenses for Martinez. They are trying to raise $5,000.
Orange County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Rose Silva said homicide detectives "are working diligently to identify the person or persons responsible for this morning's homicide," adding "our hearts go out to the victim’s family during this difficult time."
Tuesday night, classmates of Martinez and their families visited the site of the shooting, where they lit candles, wrote notes and left balloons.
"Why do we feel it's OK to do that to somebody?" asked Fernando Corral, who said he went to school with Martinez.
Corral said students at Boone spent Tuesday seeking help from counselors.
Orange County Public Schools said the counselors will return Wednesday.
"There were so many good things said about him that nobody can even come up with a reason why something like that would happen to him," Corral said.
Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office or call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477). The Florida Sheriff's Association contributed $5,000 to the Crimeline award, bringing the total to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest.
#Breaking @OrangeCoSheriff confirmed it was a 15 year old student from Boone High School who was shot this morning on his walk to school. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. @news6wkmg pic.twitter.com/Rz4bf3WMpy — Ezzy Castro (@EzzyCastro) December 18, 2018
Copyright 2018 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.