Student, 16, injured from self-inflicted gunshot wound at Frederick Douglass High School

Lauren Minor
Lauren Minor(WKYT)
Published: Mar. 9, 2018 at 9:07 AM EST
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Lexington police responded to Frederick Douglass High School after a student suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A 16-year-old freshman who was in a classroom at the same time the gunshot occurred says another student was playing with the gun before it accidentally fired Friday. A student in the school says the student with the gun suffered a hand injury as a result of the gun accidentally firing. The weapon was described as a "pocket-sized handgun."

Lexington police say Fayette County Public Schools law enforcement is the primary agency investigating, but they are assisting. Police say FCPS will likely file charges against the student. An unrelated incident led to another student leaving in handcuffs.

Fayette County Public Schools says the schools are equipped with metal-detecting wands, but the wands were not used on the student who brought the gun to school.

One mother told WKYT she received a call from her son who was "shook" from the event after hearing the gunshot. She says she is heading to the school to pick her son up.

Other parents rushed to the scene with varying emotions, including one who says she has picked her child up multiple times this school year.

“This is the second time this year I’ve gotten a phone call from school saying something about a gun or our kids being in danger. As soon as I got that phone call I knew we failed our kids," said Frederick Douglass High School parent Rhonda Lawson, "We need metal detectors and we need to step up. I’m about to pull my son out of school, and he’s a senior he graduates this year but his life is not worth it to me we’ve got to stand up for her kids and things have got to change.”

Approximately 30-40 percent of students left school for the day Friday, but classes continued. There is no significant damage to the building.

FCPS spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall released this statement following the shooting.

"We had a student accidentally hurt himself [with] a firearm. No other students or staff were injured. The student has been taken to the hospital and is receiving medical care at this time. He is also facing charges of possession of a weapon on school property and wanton endangerment. We are not in a lockdown because the threat has been removed. School safety is the number one priority at Douglass and we will continue to take steps to ensure that all students and staff are safe."

Fayette County Public School Superintendent Manny Caulk said he is working to get metal detectors in schools as soon as possible, and the system is in the middle of a series of public discussions over school security. Caulk does say metal detectors will not be installed by the start of next week.

Caulk was critical of state leaders for what he says is a lack of support for school security.

"We need to continue to advocate and insist our lawmakers fully fund public education, add additional investments for school safety across the Commonwealth as well as increase funding for mental health," Caulk said.

This happened one week after another high school student at Henry Clay High School brought a loaded gun to school. That student was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray was also aware of the shooting and said he is in touch with school leaders.

"The schools are examining the threats that this represents like this and I've been in contact with the school superintendent and we have pledged that the city will do anything that is necessary, we'll do whatever we can to support the schools even if that includes, for example, placing metal detectors in the schools."

Former police chief Anthany Beatty said Friday evening that it takes everyone to turn back what has become a troubling trend of young teens with access to guns, and why they feel they need them.

"We've got to flood ourselves and pour everything we have into this now to stem the tide of these tragic situations that are happening," Beatty said. "When I think about it happening anywhere it bothers you, but even more so when it happens in your community, it brings it home, it makes you think about what is it that can be done or what should we be doing differently to make our communities and our children particularly safer than they are today?"