Suspected Florida school shooter appears in court

Sky Bouche, John Lightle
The Associated Press

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — A man accused of opening fire at a Florida high school was denied bond during his first court appearance Saturday.

The Ocala Star-Banner reported that Sky Bouche appeared before Judge Willard Pope via video conference at the Marion County Jail, with a public defender at his side.

Pope said he denied bail due to the nature of the charges against Bouche, which include terrorism, aggravated assault with a firearm and carrying a concealed firearm. A second hearing for Bouche was set for May 22.

Friday’s shooting at Forest High School in Ocala happened on a day planned for a national classroom walkout to protest gun violence and left one person wounded.

Just hours after the shooting, a detailed picture of the troubled teen’s life and a possible motive emerged in interviews with detectives and a local newspaper.

The 19-year-old Bouche allegedly told Marion County Sheriff’s investigators he considered shooting up a church but settled on a school because “it creates more attention.”

The shooting comes just over two months after a gunman killed 17 people and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, 19, faces the death penalty if convicted in that Valentine’s Day shooting.

Bouche told authorities he purchased the shotgun in a private sale roughly a week after the Parkland shooting. He said there is no paperwork for the 1930 shotgun, and there was no background check because it was a private sale.

Detectives said Bouche told them he felt an adrenaline rush Friday morning and was ready for the shooting but said the excitement quickly wore off, and he was unable to carry out his plan. When he first entered the school, he said it was empty so he went to the bathroom and put on a tactical vest and gloves.

Bouche told detectives he fired into a classroom door and the shrapnel hit a student in the ankle. The alleged shooter then dropped his weapon and surrendered to one of his former teachers.

“His hands were up and he said he wanted to be arrested … ‘I am mentally ill,'” Kelly McManis-Panasuk quoted him as saying.

She said he told her he didn’t think the gun would work. The two talked for about three minutes until the principal and school resource officer took him into custody.

Bouche apologized as he was led away in handcuffs.

The Star-Banner interviewed Bouche shortly after his arrest. He said his earliest memories are of “violence and conflict.” The paper didn’t elaborate. Bouche said he wanted to join the Marine Corps, but couldn’t because he had been committed for a mental health evaluation when he was 14.

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