Teen Who Shot Himself at Fla. School Left a Note Behind

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
November 19, 2017 Updated: November 20, 2017

A 17-year-old high school student last week shot and killed himself at a high school in Florida, and, according to WKMG, he was identified as Seth Sutherland, 17.

Police told the station that the suicide appeared to be planned. He shot himself before a routine fire drill at Lake Minneola High School in Florida on Tuesday, but details of the incident weren’t revealed until days later.

“We have reasons to believe that this was a planned event. [The courtyard near the bus loop] is out in the open, but it was not a very populated and crowded area at that time. It seems like the majority of the student body was on the other side of the building,” Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman John Harrell was quoted as saying.

Sutherland sent a message to his loved ones before the suicide. He also apparently called out individuals that he claimed were responsible for his suicide.

“I don’t want anybody to think this was anyone’s fault. I love each one of you so much,” Seth also wrote in a handwritten note, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

On Tuesday, he went to his school with a stolen Glock pistol and ammunition in his bag, the sheriff’s office said. Then, he met his friends at a courtyard, and they said he appeared to be “in a good mood,” Herrell told the newspaper.

Minutes later, at around 8 a.m., he shot himself near a bus stop area. Seth’s parents didn’t own a gun, but he somehow got his hands on one, police said.

In the note, he didn’t elaborate on why he was depressed. “I don’t tell people about how I feel because people have their own problems to deal with,” Seth wrote. “My problems are meant to be mine. I’ve just decided not to deal with them anymore.”

“I could go on and on, but the time has come,” he wrote before signing his name and added, “Goodnight.”

Some parents expressed concern.

“Given what goes on in our society right now, when somebody has a problem with somebody else, they seem to kill everyone, and I’m just thankful that no one else was hurt. It’s a shame that he did this to himself, but I’m scared for my daughter if someone else decides to come with a gun,” parent James Wolfe told WKMG.

“I just want to keep my kid safe. Unfortunately, I can’t do what I used to do anymore to make sure people are safe, so I have to rely on others. Let’s pray for them too,” he added.

Lake County Schools Communications Officer Sherri Owens told WKMG that the shooting and lockdown occurred very quickly.

“In this age of social media, some of the students had alerted parents even before we had the opportunity to do so. But when we alerted parents, we wanted to make sure we had confirmed as many details as we could. So when our message went out, we told parents, ‘It appeared a student took his life this morning,” she told the station.

Owens said that now officials are attempting to figure out how Seth got a gun and how he got it on campus.

“That’s part of what we’re going to be looking at—how this happened. We’ll be taking a look at this as a school family, the things we can do differently, and I’m sure the individual families will be doing the same,” she said.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.