Students mourn loss of classmate gunned down walking to school

Reward offered for information in teen's death

ORLANDO, Fla. – Students at Boone High School are struggling to cope Wednesday, just one day after one of their classmates was gunned down while walking to campus.

Alejandro Vargas Martinez, 15, was shot and killed around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday along Waldo Street near Kaley Avenue, according to Orange County deputies.

While the shooting didn't happen on school property, Boone High was placed on a brief lockdown and grief counselors were brought in to help students cope with what happened.

"When the news broke out in the class that I was in, everything was quiet," senior Emily Gonzalez said.

The somber feeling at the school is something that lingered as classes began Wednesday.

Students who knew Martinez said he was an energetic teen who loved spending time with his family and friends. 

"He was always really happy," Gonzalez said.  "Every time I saw him passing by, he was always joking with his friends."

Investigators said they believe Martinez was alone and walking his normal route to school when he was shot. Neighbors heard the gunshots, but no witnesses have come forward, according to deputies.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina spoke to News 6 about the case Wednesday and said his investigators are hope they'll receive more tips.

"We know that obviously he knew students and friends, and maybe they saw something on social media that they can tell us about," Mina said.

A $10,000 reward is being offered for details leading to an arrest.  Anyone with information is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office or call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477). A GoFundMe has also been created to help pay for funeral expenses and a memorial fund has been established by Orange County Public Schools.

Grief counselors will remain at Boone High until winter break, which begins Friday.  The school district said the counselors may be brought back when classes resume in January.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.