Suicide By Cop
January 13, 2006
LONGWOOD, Fla.–A 15 year old male student at Milwee Middle School was shot today by members of the Seminole County Sheriff’s SWAT Team. The school is located about 15 miles north of Orlando. The 8 grader apparently brought a handgun to school in his backpack. He pulled the weapon out and briefly took another student hostage during a classroom fight. He then ran around campus with Sheriff’s Deputies in pursuit until he ran into a restroom. At one point, he held the gun to his own head and told law enforcement officers that he was going to kill himself or die. He then threatened the officers with his gun which forced them to respond with deadly force. The wounded student was taken to a nearby hospital. His condition has not yet been reported. Parents immediately started flowing into the school to check on their children. The school terminated classes for the remainder of the day.
At the time of this writing conflicting reports are pouring in. Some say the student was killed while others report is in the hospital with non life threatening injuries. Some reports say the weapon was a toy, others say it was a pellet gun and still others refer to it as a firearm. The consistent elements are that a young man brought a gun to school, he took a hostage, was engaged in a fight of some degree, he expressed desire or plan to die, and he was shot by member of law enforcement.
The questions that always spring to our minds at times like this are:
- Could this action have been predicted? Were there warning signs?
- Did everyone involved respond to the incident in accordance with a crisis response plan? Did everyone know what to do? Did they do it without needing further guidance during the emergency phase.
- Is there a plan in place to guide the school into and through recovery from this ordeal. Was the Crisis Team called into play early and did they start taking recovery actions even during the emergency?
As our hearts go out to the family who lost a loved one, the Deputies who were forced into the worst of all situations and a school that faces weeks of trauma, Keys encourages all schools to ask, “What if this had been my school?” What do you have in place for Prevention, Response or Recovery? If you want to know that you are as prepared as possible, follow the links below and contact Keys today.
The attorney for the family of the student shot by SWAT Team members has reported that the 15-year old, Christopher Pinley, is brain dead and being maintained by machines until his organs can be harvested.
It now appears that the firearm was actually a pellet pistol that had been painted to appear to be a real firearm. It has also been reported that family members told police that the weapon was not a rea
l firearm. His father went to the school to talk with his son, but Chris was shot before he Neighbors and fellow students are now saying that they knew something was going to happen by things that Chris had said before the day of the shooting.
Chris Penley was declared dead on Sunday evening. Troubled teen died as a result of a gun shot wound to his head on Friday at Milwee Middle school. His parents arranged for his organs to be donated so that others might live.
Is it possible that this shooting might have been avoided if there had been a system in place for collecting and assessing early warning signs?
Programs to Combat Violence: (learn more)
- How to determine – If my School is unsafe?
- Keys’ FREE “Knowledge Base Center” – Managing Dangerousness pdf downloads
- Keys’ FREE “National Reports Download Center” - An FBI Study of Mass Shooting Incidents
- Keys’ Crisis Recovery: Returning to Normal
- See Books & Material on Safety
- See Assessing Dangerousness in Adults & Assessing the Potentially Dangerous Student
- Learn more about our Subject Matter Experts