SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A Seminole High School student said school shootings shouldn’t feel as normal as they do following one at her campus Wednesday in which Jhavon McIntyre, 18, was shot and injured a classmate.
Olivia Burke, 18, said she was in the sixth period class when a Code Red was called.
“Everyone was freaking out and then a bunch of people started texting, ‘There’s a shooting’ and people were saying different things so we weren’t sure what’s going on,” she said. “They just said someone got shot and people were saying it was in the building.”
Burke told News 6 she and her classmates didn’t hear the gunshots but were told to “go to the corner of the room” during the Code Red and “stay silent.”
Police later said a 16-year-old student who shot an 18-year-old classmate before noon on the Sanford campus near Tomahawk Hall is now in custody. The victim, Jhavon McIntyre, suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being shot several times, and is recovering after surgery on his wrist following the shooting, according to his family.
“It was very quick when it comes to the situation itself. It was isolated in that area, but I don’t have time or how long it took to get that person in control,” said Ronny Neal, public information officer for the Sanford Police Department.
At a later news briefing, Sanford police Chief Cecil Smith said a culmination of their investigation alongside witnesses, staff and in-school surveillance accounts revealed the suspect was the only shooter.
“Preliminary information determines that it centers around a dispute over a young lady in school,” Smith said.
Burke said students had to walk in a single-file line to the auditorium before eventually being released later than expected on the early dismissal day.
“I’m calmer than I thought I would be,” Burke said. “I feel like it’s so normalized, so something’s constantly happening like this every day. I guess it’s just America.”
She said her parents were texting to make sure she was OK, something many concerned families were also doing Wednesday.
“It’s sad because I shouldn’t have been as calm. It’s really sad. We go through this constantly and it’s just not fair,” Burke said.
Seminole County Public Schools Superintendent Serita D. Beamon said amid all the chaos, there are counselors on campus as the school continues to look into the details of the shooting and prepares to operate normally Thursday.
County officials said the student charged in the shooting will have a court appearance at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.
The family said McIntyre is recovering after doctors performed surgery on his wrist.
Da’raveius Smith was arrested after officers said he shot his classmate inside a school building just before noon.
Smith is facing one count of attempted homicide, one count of possession of a firearm on campus, one count of firing a weapon and one count of disturbing the peace while interfering with school administration functions.