Preface: I used to live in Florida, this is my old school where many of my good friends go to school.
Two people have been fatally shot in an apparent murder-suicide at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville. No students were involved or injured.
A Times-Union photographer has heard the shooting involved a maintenance man and an administrator, but that could not be confirmed. A local lawyer told the Times-Union he was told the shooter was a fired Spanish teacher who entered the administration area with a semi-automatic weapon in a guitar case, then opened fire on possibly the principal. That could also not be confirmed.
Fire Department Spokesman Tom Francis said the call came about 1:30 p.m. at the school at 4455 Atlantic Boulevard. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is dispatching homicide detectives to the scene and a media staging area has been established.
Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda said the call came at 1:23 p.m. as a report of someone on campus with a firearm with shots fired. Police found two people dead.
School officials were not immediately available to comment. The Sheriff's Office sent out an email at 2 p.m. for Episcopal parents to "respond to the normal pick up location."
Another email from the Sheriff's Office said, "The situation is under control. At this time there is no outstanding suspects."
Traffic has backed up several blocks on Atlantic Boulevard leading into the school. There are also several parents arriving at the school on foot.
Many people are on their cellphones, being overheard talking to people they know seeking information about the shooting or giving updates themselves about the traffic.
Bujeda was seen leading two students from the school and away from the media.
The region's Bishop and other Episcopal clergy are converging on the school to provide chaplaincy and counseling services if they are needed, said the Rev. Kurt Dunkle, rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Orange Park.
"One of the great gifts of being part of a larger church, which we call a diocese, is that when you need your colleagues, they show up," Dunkle said.
Dunkle knows. In 2009, one of the family's of his church's school suffered a murder suicide in which two children were shot to death by their father.
Dunkle said he was in a meeting with the Right Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard when they got word of the shootings today. Howard is the spiritual leader of the Jacksonville-based Episcopal Diocese of Florida.
"The first thing he did was say we have to be there,'" Dunkle said.
The first thing Dunkle did was call to check on the wellbeing of his daughter, who is a senior at the school. He said she was fine and that students will start being released around 2:30
Many police cars are at the scene of the school, whose driveway is partially blocked off with police tape.
Episcopal parent Ryan Sandoval is one of the hundreds of parents stuck in a traffic jam stuck in the school's entrance. Sandoval said his wife told him about the shooting and he immediately went to the school.
"I was flabbergasted. You don't expect that here," Sandoval said.
Shoran Williams has a daughter in the school. She said she was told by her husband about the shooting and had to park down the street and walk in. Her daughter was beind led out to safety at that point.
"How any parent would feel?" Williams said. "This is her school. It's not what you'd want to happen at any school."
Relieved parent Kavitha Dantuluri said, “My son is okay. I heard from him 20 minutes after it happened.”
The Times-Union has reporters and photographers en route.
Here's a little information about the school from its website, which has yet to post anything about the shooting:
--Episcopal enrolls approximately 900 students annually in grades 6-12. The Middle School has 300 students and the Upper School 600 students.
--Episcopal’s main campus, the Munnerlyn Campus, is situated on 56 acres along the south bank of the St. Johns River in central Jacksonville. 2.1 miles to the east of the Munnerlyn Campus is Episcopal’s 28-acre Knight Sports Complex, located along the banks of the Arlington River
--The student-to-teacher ratio is 10/1; the average class size is 17
--Episcopal offers 21 AP and 19 Honors classes. In 2009, 84% of Episcopal students who took Advanced Placement exams passed with a score of 3 or higher; 91 students earned a perfect score.
--Episcopal employs 90 faculty: 100% of which have 4-year degrees or higher, 65% have graduate degrees, and 3% have earned a Ph.D. The average teaching tenure for faculty members is 19.75 years.
TL;DR - kickass headmaster fires Spanish teacher. Next day, Spanish teacher shows up with an assault rifle hidden in a guitar case. He pops off 7 shots into her, and then kills himself.
Luckily no students were shot, but for such a tight community, its a shitty event. Ms. Reagan was one of the nicest creatures you would ever meet.