Student attempts suicide in Lecanto High School classroom

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A high school English class was interrupted by a student's apparent suicide attempt Tuesday, a "horrific event" that stunned his classmates and forced a lockdown across the campus.

It was around 10:30 a.m. when the Lecanto High School student -- identified only as a 15-year-old freshman -- shot himself in the head.  Deputies, including the four resources officers assigned to the multi-school campus, immediately reacted in case the act was part of a wider plot.

"We always have a concern that it may not be an isolated issue," Sheriff Jeff Dawsy explained.

Despite his head wound, the sheriff said, the student remained conscious and was able to confirm that he had no intention of targeting others.  He was flown to Tampa General Hospital in critical but stable condition.

The sheriff himself avoided using the word "suicide" during his update on the shooting but said his detectives were still working to identify a possible motive, looking through the student's phone and interviewing classmates. 

There were no reports of bullying involving the teen, Superintendent Sandra Himmel said.

The 20 to 25 students who witnessed the shooting met with counselors, an option that will be available to students, staff, and parents tomorrow during the Veterans Day holiday and when classes are back in session Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile, concerned parents had lined up to pick up their kids, many prompted by social media messages and phone calls, but were held back until just after 1 p.m. 

"We understand the frustration of the parents," Dawsy said, anticipating their concerns.  "I'm not going to put those kids in harm's way until I feel very, very comfortable.  And that may mean that our parents will be frustrated."

It was not immediately clear where the student got the 9mm semiautomatic, or how he brought it onto the campus. 

"I don't foresee any charges coming out of this," added Dawsy.  "This is an individual facing great despair.  I don't understand how, at the age of 15, you can become this depressed, but it's not uncommon.  I think, as a community, we need to figure out how to reach out to this person."