SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – An 18-year-old student who was shot and injured by another teen at Seminole High School earlier this year sat down with News 6 Thursday afternoon to discuss the attack that send him to the hospital.
“I was shocked. I never thought it would happen to me,” Jhavon McIntyre said. “I’m feeling good, to be honest. Still trying to recover.”
Officers said McIntyre, was shot three times on the Sanford campus on Jan. 19 by 16-year-old Da’raveius Smith.
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Two months later, the 18-year-old and his parents remember that day and all the physical therapy and emotional support that sustained him during his recovery.
“Right when everything happened, everyone was just calling my phone, checking on me,” said McIntyre, who spent five days being treated in the hospital.
The remnants of recovery are still seen today, an external fixation device supporting his fractured wrist during the interview.
McIntyre, who started walking again within two days of being in the hospital, said he is determined to continue his high school, and soon college, football career.
“I was just destined to get back (on the field),” he said. “That was my main goal, to get back.”
He said his teammates, who all look at each other as brothers, were there with him every step of the way.
“The coach actually got the whole team together and did a FaceTime and I think that helped a lot,” said his mother, Chevon Dawkins.
She recalled the fear she felt that day when one of her children called to tell her McIntyre had been shot.
“It was my worst nightmare, getting a call that he’s been shot,” Dawkins said. “It was horrible and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”
His father, Lawrence McIntyre, was glad to see him OK, but still running through a gamut of emotions.
“I was confused, scared and angry all at the same time,” he said. “It was something... I still cant believe it happened to him.”
[TIMELINE: Here’s what happened day of Seminole High School shooting, police say]
After the shooting inside a Seminole High School building, officers took Smith into custody.
Sanford police Chief Cecil Smith initially said the shooting stemmed from a dispute between the suspect and the victim over a girl, but later learned it was a dispute over a dead relative, which resulted in Smith pulling a gun and firing at McIntyre.
“This event doesn’t define Seminole High School and It doesn’t define Seminole Public Schools,” Seminole County Board Chairman Amy Pennock said.
Smith, who made his first appearance in court on Jan. 20, faces several charges, including attempted first-degree premediated murder, possession of a weapon and discharging a weapon on school property, and shooting into a building.
Following the incident, and the ripples of anxiety and fear that gripped parents and students in its wake, the school district put extra law enforcement and security measures in place on campus.
The shooting also sparked discussions within Seminole County School Board meetings on what went wrong and how the response to this incident could have been improved.
Natalie Jackson, the attorney representing McIntyre’s family, said they are not filing a lawsuit at the moment, but are looking into making sure school policies were followed the “highly preventable shooting.”
“We understand that schools are under a tremendous burden right now, especially as it comes to this sort of thing,” Jackson said. “Here there were the twofold (problems). You have a shortage of staff and you also have the lack of student notice.”
For now, McIntyre is focusing on moving forward, still garnering the attention of scouts from four colleges and universities hoping to have him on their teams.
“Right now, his main focus is maintaining himself so that he’ll be able to play football and get these scholarships,” Jackson said. “As you can imagine, this has been pretty much devastating to his senior year. And this is the year where scouts are looking at you. So luckily, as a testimony to his perseverance and his determination (is the fact) that four schools are still interested in him.”